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The SAT is a standardized test conducted by the College Board to evaluate the students’ written, mathematical and verbal skills. Students who aspire to take admission for undergraduate courses, mainly in the US and Canada, must have an SAT score for the application.

Covid-19 pandemic drastically altered the college admissions scenario all over the world. Classes had to be postponed and shifted online in the semester owing to the rampant spread of the virus in crowded places.

One of the significant changes that some colleges made was waiving the SAT score for admissions in Fall 2021. As in-person testing became unsafe and impractical, there were some talks of the College Board exploring the idea of carrying out online take-at-home SAT test. But the sheer scale and complexity of such a test prevented it from happening this year.

Given the situation, many of the colleges waived the mandatory SAT score requirement for the application process, albeit temporarily. They understood the predicament of the students who may be forced to take a gap year due to the SAT exams being canceled because of the ongoing pandemic. They declared that aspirants will be assessed purely on the basis of their academic records and application essays.

Colleges waiving the SAT score for Fall 2021 admissions:

Amherst College Anderson University Bethel University
Boston University Butler University California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Case Western Reserve University Centre College Colgate University
College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University College of Wooster Cooper Union
Columbia University Cornell University Dartmoutd College
Davidson College Drury University Elon University
Fordham University Harvard College Haverford College
Haverdson College Indiana University – Bloomington Indiana University – Soutd Bend
Loyola University Macalester College Middlebury College
Nortdeastern University Oakland University Oberlin University
Oregon State University Pomona College Rhodes College
Rochester Institute of Technology Santa Clara University Scripps College
Scripps College Swartdmore College Texas Christian University
Trinity University Tufts University Tulane University
University of Chicago University of Connecticut University of Oregon
University of San Diego University of Toledo University of Washington
Vassar College Williams College

University of Pennsylvania and Princeton have stated that students who do not have an SAT subject test score will not be at a disadvantage during the evaluation process.

What prompted this waiver?

The test had to be canceled from March-May, when the pandemic first started. Grievances further escalated when according to the College Board, 42% of the aspirants could not appear for the October-registered examination as well. Even December 5 SAT was cancelled in some test centers around the world. As many as 30% percent of the testing centers were closed at one time.

This prompted colleges to adopt a test-optional admissions process in order to get more students on-board for the application process and not let the pandemic adversely affect their studies any further. The testing availability across different centers was limited too.

While some colleges wish to phase out the SAT score requirement for the application process, some have only temporarily suspended this mandatory requirement due to the pandemic. They understand the problems arising due to remote learning and the closure of high schools.

A beneficial change for international applicants

International students targeting US universities can directly apply for their undergrad studies as the application will be assessed largely on the basis of their academic performance, extracurricular activities, application essays, and LORs.

For high school students, on one hand, there is considerable relief as they would be taking one exam less, but on the other, there is also some concern that that overall application can be nothing but top-notch. A valid one at that!

Keep Yourself Updated

Most of the colleges and universities are reviewing their admissions policies for Spring/Fall ’22 too as the pandemic doesn’t appear to be dying down. But this is not a permanent change for most of the colleges and universities. They have adopted this policy for the time being as a solution to get more college applications from students who have missed the SAT tests.

However, the hope of getting the coronavirus vaccine has the admission boards hopeful. Hence, they might review the SAT score requirement waiver once everything starts opening.

Hence, what you can do is keep yourself up to date with all the information and check the College Board sites regularly to stay abreast of the latest developments. You can even email the colleges or universities to enquire and confirm the requirements before applying.

Hence, what you can do is keep yourself up to date with all the information and check the College Board sites regularly to stay abreast of the latest developments. You can even email the colleges or universities to enquire and confirm the requirements before applying.

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