Given the uncertain prospect of universally accessible, reliable and equitable SAT/ACT testing in the next admission year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Virginia will not require that applicants submit standardized testing to be considered for admission for at least the next application cycle.
“Students and families face enormous challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” President Jim Ryan said. “This change in our admission system during a year in which all applicants might not have the same access to testing will remove at least one obstacle that might otherwise discourage a student from pursuing her higher education aspirations. At the same time, this will give us an extraordinary opportunity to explore the utility of tests in our overall admissions process going forward.”
A test-optional approach could also assist first-generation and underrepresented student populations, including minority and low-income applicants who historically have not benefitted as frequently as others in preparatory help such as test-tutors.
When making admission decisions, the Office of Admission will continue to offer a comprehensive, personal, thorough and holistic evaluation of each application, Dean of Admission Greg Roberts said. Students who wish to include testing as part of their application may continue to do so, but those who do not will be at no disadvantage in the application review.
The pilot testing policy applies to all applicants for undergraduate admission to UVA – domestic and international, first-year and transfer students.
Additionally, the University has pushed back its Early Decision application deadline to Nov. 1 to give students more time to examine their college options and submit an Early Decision application if UVA is their first choice for college.
“Before making this recommendation, we consulted with the deans of the undergraduate schools that accept first-year applicants,” Roberts said. “All expressed a deep commitment to equity and fairness in the admission process for their schools, and given the uncertainty surrounding the availability of testing this year, all offered clear and unwavering support for a one-year, pilot test-optional admission plan.”
UVA will review the data related to this new, test-optional cycle to inform potential, longer-term policy considerations in the future, and will decide by next spring whether to extend the pilot.