STEM heavyweights drop SAT Subject Tests

As my local Bay Area students enter week 3 of shelter-in-place, we're steadily going through our own versions of coping with this pandemic. In the meantime, with less than six months to the start of the next application season, colleges across the country are trying to figure out the best way to help our current juniors as they start their college applications.


Many colleges have already declared that they will go test optional for the next admission cycle (current juniors graduating in 2021). Some have changed the application rules for just one year and some have said they will re-evaluate after the next admissions cycle. The list of colleges that will not require an SAT/ACT score for the Class of 2021 includes public universities in Oregon, Case Western Reserve in Ohio, as well as Boston University and Chapman University to name just a few.


While we're waiting to see how many universities will go test optional, we were pleasantly surprised to see top STEM universities like CalTech, Harvey Mudd, and MIT declare that they won't be taking SAT Subject tests for the next admissions cycle. Until now, these universities have asked for at least SAT Math II and one, sometimes two, science SAT tests.

One thing to understand is that MIT will not accept SAT Subject Tests at all. In the blog post they wrote, "In fairness to all applicants, we won’t consider them for anyone. We think it would be unfair to consider scores only from those who have scored well and therefore choose to send them to us. They are neither recommended nor optional; they are simply not a part of our process anymore".


Harvey Mudd and CalTech also moved to take away SAT subject tests. At this point, it's not clear whether applicants will have the ability to enter test scores in their applications or not.


Juniors should note that all three universities are still expecting applicants to submit their SAT/ACT scores. So even though SAT test dates have been canceled through May, keep in mind that the June test dates have not been officially canceled as of today and the fall test dates will probably occur as planned.


It's in your best interest to stay focused and keep at it. Let's use this time, when our calendars are suddenly cleared up, to get ready for the future. Because when the quarantines and shelter-in-place orders are lifted, we'll find ourselves backlogged with one or maybe two months' of work. The summer before senior year is usually crammed with test prep, work, volunteering, classes and/or camps so let's look a few months ahead and take care of the things that we can take care of.