CSUs stop accepting the ACT and SAT


Katy Clark

California public universities continue to push to put less emphasis on the SAT and ACT

Katy Clark, Staff Writer

The CSU’s have announced that they will not use the SAT or ACT anymore for college admissions to any of their 23 campuses. This decision does not come as a shock, as the CSU’s– along with the UC’s–have already started to phase out the Collegeboard test as a result of troubles with access to tests during the pandemic.

“I had my SAT canceled twice on two different dates because of COVID-19, so it was really hard for me to get a testing location nearby. I ended up having to go to a testing location in Yuba City,” said Heejee Yoon.

This decision was not solely made based on the pandemic however. For years, people have argued that the SAT and ACT are not a true measure of intelligence and that it is advantageous towards wealthy families who can afford tutors and SAT preparation classes. Whether or not this is true, CSU’s have listened and now are focusing almost entirely on GPA for the class of 2022 and 2023.

“I completely support this transition. I feel that a student’s academic performance and capability is better exemplified through the work and grades they earn throughout their time in high school, rather than placing so much value on an exam that is taken in one day. In most work environments, a person must earn their status over time if they want a promotion, and this is done by completing work and showing up each day,” said College Counselor Lara Bays.

For the senior class this year, applying to CSU schools hinged mainly on one’s GPA, extracurriculars, and writing skills, while SAT and ACT scores were negligible to not a factor.

“There is one question at the bottom of the application asking how many hours a week you spend on extracurricular activities, but there’s no place to add anything or clarify anything. This creates more anxiety because I don’t know if grades are distributed evenly. At some schools there is major inflation. But I have heard that the CSUS calculate GPA in their own way, so like what might be my GPA at Amador might not be my CSU GPA, so that takes a little bit of the pressure off relative to other schools,” said Future UC Davis Student Gundavaram.

For the class of 2023, students will need to submit their A-G GPA, which is their grades from 10th and 11th grade. And for CalPoly schools including SLO and Pomona, students will need to submit their 9-11th grades. 

Right now without a major overhaul of the application system I think this is the best way to proceed, but GPA is not more equitable obviously there is grade deflation and inflation wherever you go and access to resources based on socioeconomic status,” said Gundavaram

The shift away from the ACT and SAT has caused many more out of state students to apply to the California public universities as they are not turned away for being under the threshold of an SAT or ACT score.  However as many class of 2022 students have found is that with high application numbers comes lower acceptance rates.

“This year there was a major spike in applicants and this policy contributed heavily to that so I think we are going to continue to see those high numbers. The class size stays the same so the number of people applying increases, so that’s why this year there has been the crazy low acceptance rates everywhere,” said Gundavaram.

However, not all public schools in the United States are following this shift away from the College Board. Plenty of schools still require the SAT or ACT from admits,  as one can see by searching on Fairtest.org. And many private colleges in California still require it or suggest it on applications. However, this major decision by CSU officials might influence other state universities in due time, and the United States might see a shift away from standardized testing into an emphasis on GPA.