The UC Board of Regents altered the university system’s admission process last week, removing the SAT Subject Tests from its list of requirements for next year’s incoming freshmen.
Although the previously-mandated exams are no longer necessary to complete the application process, high school seniors may submit their scores and favorable results still boost one’s chances of acceptance. Despite this change, applicants must still submit SAT Reasoning Test or ACT scores and are advised to take the subject tests if recommended by their specific programs.
According to Associate Director of Admissions Donna Coyne, the decision was made to encourage greater diversity among UC applicants.
“The extra SAT Subject exams were seen as something of an artificial barrier to bringing more qualified students to UC,” Coyne said. “Those students who saw taking the extra exams as a barrier no longer have that.”
Mason Berger, a high school senior at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, said the change eases the burden on students who are pressured to maintain competitive grades and extracurricular activities throughout the duration of the year.
“In my opinion, the UC Regents’ decision is a godsend to all of us who have continued with difficult class loads through senior year,” Berger said in an e-mail. “Due to the stress of coping with grades, jobs, and college applications, the elimination of subject tests and many hours of extra studying should be welcomed.”
Since the relaxed standards make the UC a more attractive choice for high school seniors, Coyne said campuses anticipate a subsequent spike in applicants who may have opted out of applying under the previous standards.
“From our perspective, we’re excited to see if it will make a difference [and] to see if we get more qualified students,” Coyne said.
However, Berger said he has decided not to take any optional entrance exams in order to cut some of the many costs associated with college applications.
“I have decided not to take the SAT Subject Tests because they aren’t a necessity to my application and it would require my parents to invest even more money into my already hefty college expenses,” Berger said. “Most of my friends are in the same boat as me in their decision not to take the Subject Tests, as are my parents, who enjoy saving the extra money from study guides and test fees.”
Prospective undeclared major Olivia Robles, a senior at Ventura High School, said not having to worry about specific faculty recommendations for SAT Subject Tests is a major relief.
“I think my SAT Reasoning Test is good enough so I’m not worried about the Subject Tests,” Robles said. “Some of my friends are taking them just for extra points, but at the same time others don’t really care.”
However, Coyne said recommendations to take major-specific Subject Tests from individual campuses should be heeded.
“We are still recommending for some majors that [students] take an SAT Subject exam. Engineering in particular recommends for students to take the [Mathematics] Level 2 exam and students who are going to be engineering majors really need to have math proficiency, so the faculty feels pretty strongly that they need to be able to demonstrate that.”