The University announced in an update Friday that first-year applicants for undergraduate admission will not be required to submit standardized test scores in the Fall 2022 and 2023 application cycles.
Applicants will be able to choose whether or not to include SAT or ACT scores for consideration in the application process, a step that the University hopes will make “the admissions process more accessible and equitable” in a time of uncertainty due to the pandemic.
“We believe this is a reasonable and humane response to one pressure that our prospective students are facing as a result of COVID-19,” University President Jim Ryan said in the update.
Students who applied this year were not required to submit standardized test scores because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the cancelation and postponement of many SAT and ACT test dates. In August, nearly half of the 402,000 students signed up to take the SAT nationwide were unable to as test centers either closed or operated at reduced capacities.
Out of all 47,827 applicants in the University’s early decision, early action and regular decision cycles this year, 42 percent chose not to submit test scores.
According to Dean of Admission Greg Roberts, students who opt not to submit test scores will be at no disadvantage to their peers who choose to submit their scores, and the University will continue to take a “comprehensive, holistic and personal approach” when reviewing each application.
When the test-optional policy for Fall 2020 applicants was announced in June, Ryan noted that the switch to test-optional may benefit first-generation and low-income students “who historically have not benefited as frequently as others in preparatory help such as test tutors.”
Due to COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations remaining high nationally, the University determined that high school juniors and seniors may face difficulties taking the SAT or ACT in the next two years.
“We will spend the next two years studying the use of standardized testing to determine the extent to which these tests are fair and equitable for all students and reliable indicators of student academic success at U.Va.,” Roberts said.
In November, ACT announced that there will be inevitable cancellations throughout the remainder of its 2020-2021 test dates due to limitations in test center capacity. ACT has also announced plans for remote proctoring in anticipation of in-person testing limitations. The College Board has announced that they still plan to administer the SAT in March, but will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and adjust if necessary.
The decision comes at a time when many other colleges are also extending their test-optional admission policies, with the majority choosing to extend their policies for one to two years. Prior to the pandemic, there were already over 1,000 colleges that did not require standardized test scores to be submitted. More than 700 other colleges have announced test-optional policies since the pandemic started.