Suspension or exemption of SAT/ACT? Long live the SAT/ACT


Suspension or exemption of SAT/ACT? Long live the SAT/ACT

COVID-19 has done a lot of damage to the world, and there have been changes in every schedule and plan. Every industry and sector has suffered due to this, and the education sector Is no exception. Standardized tests, like SAT and ACT, have been used by colleges to judge the merit of applicants for a long time, and due to the pandemic, exams like that have been cancelled. Students cannot take a risk and assemble in a crowded place to take the test, so the universities and colleges across the country are forced to tweak their admission procedure.

Prevalent news

Students and their families always stay on top of the recent news, especially those students who have to take the SAT or ACT. Various news outlets, like Google or many headlines in newspapers, have said that the universities and colleges have exempted exams like SAT and ACT, and their scores are not necessary for admission. Some students were happy at hearing this news, although the new rules left the majority of the people in confusion about the correct procedures to be followed now.

It is important to dissect the news headlines to figure out what they imply instead of jumping to conclusions. When the headlines say that SAT and ACT scores have been exempted, many people might assume that they are under no pressure because SAT or ACT scores will not be considered at all by the universities. This impression leaves them free of obligation.



What do the headlines mean?

The keyword here, that is to be considered, is the word “Suspended”. That word makes the students think that SAT or ACT scores will not be considered in the applications at all, so there is no need to worry about them at all.

The pandemic is the true reason behind such drastic changes. It is simply not possible for the organization to hold exams of MCQ structure. Universities are left in confusion, as they try to decide how to judge their applicants and decide on which students will make the best fit for their institution. Some universities and colleges have already announced that they will be lenient only when it comes to the 2021 admission process. This is reasonable as many students who are applying to colleges might be going through several financial as well as mental problems. So, the policy of being considerate for this batch is admissions are indeed a good one.

What is the catch?

It has never been explicitly mentioned that universities and colleges will not accept SAT or ACT scores!

Let’s assume a hypothetical case to support our argument. What if, due to COVID-19, the schools cannot administer the 12th Final exams, what will the universities do then? The college admissions process cannot take only the scores of the 11th grade when they consider applicants, as that would not make much sense or be effective in any way. Prestigious institutions like Ivy League colleges are not going to consider following this policy at all, so it will be callous to make these sorts of assumptions in the first place.

Importance of standardized tests

Excellent academic institutions like Harvard and Stanford still emphasize a lot on scores of SAT or ACT, and they still make a requirement of the exam. This is not surprising as the standardized tests are an effective way to measure the academic prowess of any student applying. The case is the same for highly selective colleges and universities situated on the West Coast.

What’s the verdict?

Everyone is in the same boat of uncertainty in this pandemic, so nothing can be determined without proper research. Only after going through several university websites and calling their number, we have collected all the information received and compiled them here in this article of EduQuest for your help.

Many universities have never mentioned clearly that they will not take the SAT or ACTs into consideration. All the relevant university websites have clearly said that they will accept scores, which will ultimately help them determine the potential of the student. These scores will also be useful in the completion of requirements of admission as well as deciding the matter of scholarships.

Thus, it is proved that SAT and ACT scores still matter and the competition is going to be fierce as always, and much of the competition will be determined by the SAT and ACT scores only.

What about the exemption of the SAT/ACT?

The headlines weren’t lying, as the universities are not just going to overlook all the applications that do not have these scores on them. Every application, with or without SAT or ACT scores, will be reviewed properly and will undergo certain screening. Applications without standardized scores will be reviewed thoroughly for choosing which ones to keep.

The best strategy is to keep prepared for the exams like the SAT or ACT.  The pattern of these exams cannot be determined as such right now, but these exams will happen in some way and there is no reason to neglect your SAT preparation or your ACT preparation. Anything can happen, maybe there will be an online method of examination where strict marking will be implemented.

Recent Updates

The organization that handles these exams is the College Board, and it earns about $1billion in revenue from SAT. A trusted representative from the ACT has announced that they are ready to make their test go digital if that is what is required. College Board has to keep up offering the universities a platform based on which applicants can be judged.

Fear of going digital?

Digital tests come with complications. When exams are conducted this way, there is an added tension of issues relating to privacy or an increased risk of cheating. To get rid of the cheating factor, ACT has decided to conduct an open exam test. It is taken through an online mode through all over the entire world and has happened in May 2020. MCQ part has no been kept and the FRQ section was made to stay.


 New announcements are occurring and both the SAT and ACT are taking steps so that the students can take these exams online. This will be helpful for students applying this fall.

Among the many universities, we have mentioned a few names that have announced changes in their process of admission.

The University of California has taken the decision to suspend the SAT and ACT requirements for their applications. This news is verified from the UC website. The authorizes say that these requirements are temporarily suspended and they will also figure out financial aid packages if necessary. SAT is optional, not exempted.

As for Tufts University, the students that are applying for the admission process in fall 2021, will be exempted from showing their SAT or ACT scores. Applicants have the choice of whether or not they want their exam results to be considered and if they do, these results will be reviewed in a contextual way. The same goes for the students who do not choose to submit their scores. The holistic approach of Tufts University enables them to evaluate the applications with flexibility and consider the individual student’s context.

Loyola Marymount University has waived the requirement for the ACT and SAT scores for admissions this fall. The 2021 applicants will have leniency due to the disruptions and obstacles of the pandemic. If students can take the test, then they are welcome to submit their scores in their applications. But, that doesn’t mean that the students who aren’t able to take the test will be suffering from a disadvantage. The holistic approach of the institution will reasonably evaluate those candidates.

Lock Haven University will also waive the standardized testing requirement. However, students who have their scores are encouraged to put them in their application for admission. The admissions office will require some additional information due to the changes in their policy and may ask their applicants to agree to a telephone interview. However, certain majors will not be a part of this exemption and they include biology, chemistry, geology, and health science.

As for the University of Texas, the application requirement largely remains the same. They are going to review the applications based on the expected availability of the standardized tests over the next few months. Any changes will be updated on their website.

Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Duke UniversityNorthwestern University

Final Comments

It is better to remain knowledgeable about the requirements for your Dream College and stay prepared for the SAT or ACT.


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