Weekly Wonder: In light of COVID-19, these colleges will not be requiring ACT and SAT scores

By Alex Hemmer
BU News Service

BOSTON — In recognition of unexpected academic challenges high school students nationwide have faced as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, some colleges and universities have adjusted their admissions criteria by either permanently or temporarily waiving SAT and ACT requirements.

Boston University, Tufts University and Northeastern University have all adopted a test-optional policy, though each on its own conditions. While Northeastern has specifically applied this policy to the class of 2025, Tufts has decided on a three year waiver starting with applicants intending to enter during the Fall 2021 semester, matching Haverford College in Pennsylvania.

Boston University has specifically waived the requirement for students whose terms start either Fall 2021 or Spring 2022.

Outside the Boston area, Amherst College and Williams College have adopted a test-optional policy for applicants in the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.

“In response to the enormous global disruption that has accompanied the rapidly evolving COVID-19 public health crisis, Amherst College has announced a set of modifications designed to help students and families in these extraordinary times,” Amherst College announced in a statement released April 6.

Similar to its Massachusetts neighbors, Vassar College in New York has also implemented its waiver to applicants of the the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.

Rhodes College in Tennessee and Davidson College in North Carolina are among schools in the Southeast region to launch a waiver for three years as part of a pilot program, after which both institutions plan to evaluate the likelihood of continuing their policies.

Further west in St. Paul, Minnesota, private liberal arts school Macalester College has permanently waived the requirement – a policy that will take effect with entrants during the Fall 2021 semester.

Similarly, on the West Coast, the University of Oregon, Oregan State University, University of Washington and Scripps College have all decided to permanently adopt a test-optional policy as well.

Schools part of the University of California have temporarily suspended standardized testing requirements specifically for applicants entering in the Fall 2021 semester.

Despite the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 era, these institutions are not pioneers in going without SAT and ACT scores.

Bowdoin College in Maine has not evaluated its applicants based on standardized test scores since 1969, stating that the school prefers using only the materials that they’ll require of students, including transcripts and “how your teachers talk about you.”

Bates College is also among Maine institutions to have dropped the requirement many years ago, having implemented the decision in 1984.

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