College Applicants Crippled By Changing Requirements

Many students experience high levels of anxiety and confusion when it comes to standardized testing during the college admissions process. They are left questioning whether they should attempt the SAT and ACT or choose to forgo testing entirely.

Before the COVID pandemic, colleges and universities typically mandated testing, such as the SAT or ACT, as a prerequisite for admission.

Due to the changes brought about by social distancing practices and school closures, numerous schools have decided to eliminate their standardized testing requirements. As of now, many of these schools have not reintroduced these requirements.

Several universities, such as Yale, Dartmouth, the University of Texas at Austin, Georgetown University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), along with others, have decided to bring back or have expressed their plans to bring back college admissions testing as part of evaluating a student’s preparedness for college.

However, the varying requirements from different institutions have raised concerns among applicants like Talbert. They are faced with navigating through their preferred schools’ policies to determine whether testing is required, not considered (test-blind), or if there is a test-optional approach. This inconsistent patchwork of policies is causing a lot of stress for applicants, parents, and college admissions consultants nationwide. They are forced to constantly reassess their application strategies and advise anxious teenagers on whether to take tests, retake them, or forgo testing altogether, as decisions are being made in real-time.

One of the experts mentioned is Laurie Kopp Weingarten, the founder of One-Stop College Counseling in New Jersey. She has developed a fresh approach to assisting students in preparing for college applications. Her method involves carefully examining the testing policies of various colleges and determining the likelihood of any changes.

One particularly noteworthy aspect is the expectation for students to know the expiration dates of specific testing policies.

For example, Harvard plans to maintain its test-optional policy until the 2025-2026 application cycle. However, students should be aware of potential changes after that admission cycle.

Requirements may vary depending on the institution and specific departments or programs.

Significant changes have occurred in college admissions in recent years, particularly regarding legacy-based admissions practices. Based on institutional standards, these practices prioritize students with alumni connections over those without.

Last year, the Supreme Court made a significant decision that impacted affirmative action practices in college admissions.