The coronavirus pandemic has had major impacts across the globe, and many students have been feeling some of these when it comes to the University of California admission process.
On April 1, the UC system temporarily adjusted admissions requirements to help students and their families in the wake of COVID-19. This applies to students enrolling in the fall as well as future applicants.
The global health crisis has resulted in the UC system making several changes, including the suspension of the standardized test requirement for students applying for fall 2021 freshman admission— making them optional— and the letter grade requirement for A-G courses completed in winter/spring/summer 2020 for all students, including UC’s most recently admitted freshmen.
The UC Board of Regents voted on Thursday to extend the optional period for another year, affecting the high school Class of 2022. Regents also announced that the UC system will not consider SAT and ACT scores for two years when evaluating in-state applicants, and that in 2025 consideration of any SAT and ACT scores for admissions purposes would be eliminated, regardless of resident status, according to The New York Times.
The Times article indicated that standardized test scores would be only used to award scholarships and determine course placement.
“We want to help alleviate the tremendous disruption and anxiety that is already overwhelming prospective students due to COVID-19,” John A. Pérez, chair of the UC Board of Regents, said in a release published on the University of California’s Press Room website. “By removing artificial barriers and decreasing stressors – including suspending the use of the SAT – for this unprecedented moment in time, we hope there will be less worry for our future students.”
The UC system— one of the most prestigious public school systems with more than 200,000 applicants this year— also has decided to not rescind offers from students who missed the final transcript deadline as well as temporarily suspending the cap on the number of transferable units with “pass/no pass” grading. With Cal High following a pass/fail system for this semester, this will definitely affect the admissions process for students in the class of 2021 and beyond.
The system did announce that it will reward UC credit for AP exams despite the College Board announcing the changed time and format of the exams.
To some students, these changes are a little concerning.
“I feel like they make the process a little scary because nothing like this has happened before,” junior Sonya Kapur said.
These changes, especially regarding standardized testing, could have a lot of impact on the Cal students.
“This affects me because I’ve already taken one SAT and spent a lot of time preparing for the next one,” Kapur said.
The College Board recently announced that it will be postponing all SATs until Sept. 26 and all subject tests until the foreseeable future, a decision that is drawing mixed reviews from students. Meanwhile, the CollegeBoard and the ACT have both announced that they will create an online testing option for students in the fall.
“On one hand these are necessary changes, but on another, they really negatively impact people who have spent lots of time preparing for the SAT or ACT,” senior Zain Vanjana said.
In addition to the SAT, many schools including Cal have switched to a pass/fail system which has confused and angered students.
“I get why the whole pass/fail system might be frustrating since it seems like your work during the semester was for nothing,” senior Chris Liu said. “But at the same time, it’s really the only option that makes sense for remote learning.”
The UC system includes nine schools that offer both undergraduate and graduate programs, and each one is addressing the coronavirus pandemic in a different way when it comes to learning. For more information, visit the University of California website at www.universityofcalifornia.edu.