UC schools drop the SAT & ACT, but it’s more complicated than you think

Last month, the University of California made headlines for voting to phase out SAT/ACT scores as an admissions requirement. But it’s important to make sure you understand how this change applies to your individual situation—because the decision is way more complicated than the early headlines indicated.

The UC system’s transition away from the SAT and ACT will involve test-optional policies, test-blind policies, and possibly a new standardized testing requirement. On top of that, these policies may vary based on the year in which the student is applying, where the student lives, and the scholarships for which the student hopes to qualify.

For California residents, the UC campuses will be test optional for two years, meaning scores will be considered if students choose to send them, before going test blind for two years, meaning scores will not factor into admissions decisions at all. (Read this for a deeper dive into the differences between test-optional and test-blind policies.) After those four years, the UC system will either adopt a new exam or remain test blind. If the new exam is ready by 2025, scores from that exam will be required as part of the admissions process.

The plan for out-of-state students and international students is less clear. So far, we know that UC schools will be test optional for two years, and they're still determining the best approach for the years that follow.

How does this affect you?

This chart walks you through the plan for each entering class in more detail. Here, you’ll see how the UC campuses plan to use test scores for admissions decisions and other purposes (including scholarships, course placement, and eligibility for California’s statewide admissions guarantee) based on where students reside.

UC Testing Chart ArborBridge

Need more individualized advice?

The recommendations above are general suggestions. If you have specific questions, reach out to our experts here. We’re happy to help in any way we can.


About ArborBridge

ArborBridge is the global leader in innovative, digital, one-on-one tutoring. With nearly a decade of experience teaching students online, ArborBridge supports students of all kinds: home schoolers, AP students, test preppers, and more. Our tutors specialize in creating personalized plans and in providing compassionate support for students and families.

Erin Ohsie-Frauenhofer

About Erin Ohsie-Frauenhofer

As one of the highest-performing tutors in ArborBridge’s history, Erin coaches tutors and develops tools and trainings to disrupt old habits and empower new strengths. With a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University, Erin worked as a classroom teacher and student services director prior to joining ArborBridge in 2017. Her decade of success as an educator has prepared her to ensure that programs are tailored to individual students’ needs.

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