Matt's Past SAT/ACT News Update

Matt O'Connor

Apr 22, 2023

Two major New York-based educational institutions have announced the adoption of permanent test optional policies: The State University of New York system, and highly-selective Vassar College (ranked #13 among National Liberal Arts Colleges):


The State University of New York will not require its undergraduate colleges to collect students’ standardized test scores in the admissions process, following a vote by the board of trustees Tuesday.

Similarly, Vassar College announced Thursday prospective students can choose if they include SAT or ACT scores with their applications going forward. “Studies have shown that test scores do not always accurately measure the qualities we are looking for in students. Standardized testing simply shows who is a good test taker,” Vassar President Elizabeth Bradley said in a statement.

SUNY, which has waived standardized testing requirements since June 2020, will allow the leadership at each of its 64 campuses to keep test scores optional if they so choose.

Haverford College (ranked #18 in National Liberal Arts Colleges) has also announced its decision to implement a test optional policy on a permanent basis:


...the [Haverford admissions] committee admitted that prior to this change, standardized testing only constituted a small portion of an applicant’s holistic profile, so choosing not to submit a test score would not take away from an application. Other aspects of the application, like a student’s transcript, which contains years worth of information, are much more valuable to the committee.

Current Haverford students certainly took advantage of the pilot test-optional program when applying. One year after the test-optional pilot program went into effect, the number of matriculating students submitting test scores decreased by approximately 50%. Applicants may choose not to submit a test score for a variety of reasons, including if their score was lower than the college’s average or simply because they chose not (or were not able to) to take the test.

The University System of Georgia has announced an extension of its test optional policy for most state institutions.


Students seeking to enroll at 23 of Georgia’s public universities for the 2024-2025 school year won’t need to take the ACT or SAT college exam to gain admission.

Sonny Perdue, chancellor of the University System of Georgia, recommended waiving the admissions requirement at all but three of the system’s most academically rigorous schools: Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia and Georgia College & State University.

The Georgia Board of Regents on Wednesday agreed with the plan, which still requires students to meet grade-point average thresholds as part of the admissions process. Test scores also are needed to qualify for the Georgia Lottery-funded Zell Miller Scholarship.

The University System previously exempted most of its schools from requiring test scores for students seeking to enroll this fall.

Higher Ed Dive reports that "College applicants still aren’t submitting SAT, ACT scores at pre-pandemic levels":


College applicants still aren’t providing SAT or ACT scores at the same rate they were before the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data from the Common Application.

Just 43% of applicants submitted entrance exam scores to Common App member institutions for the 2022-23 academic year. This is nearly the exact same share as the previous year, but far lower than prior to the pandemic. In 2019-20, nearly three-quarters of applicants sent colleges assessment results.

These trends follow a significant number of colleges switching to test-optional policies, which is reflected in the Common App data. Just 4% of their member colleges in 2022-23 mandated admission test scores, down from 55% in 2019-20.

Only 35% of students from the lowest income bracket sent in scores in 2022-23, roughly the same share as in the prior two years. In 2019-20, about 67% of lowest-income applicants provided scores.

Nearly half of applicants in the highest income bracket delivered scores to colleges in 2022-23, according to the Common App. More than three-quarters of those applicants were providing scores in 2019-20.

Test optional policies have become nearly universal among US colleges & universities (including many state university systems), but the state of Texas may be heading in the other direction. A bill is advancing in the Texas senate that would require state institutions to consider test scores at both the undergraduate and graduate levels:


The Texas Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education advanced a bill Monday that would require public universities to consider standardized test scores in their admissions processes.

Texas public universities currently are required to automatically admit in-state high school students for undergraduate programs if they are in the top 10% of their graduating class, although the University of Texas has a unique exception allowing it to only automatically admit students in the top 6%.

For the undergraduate students who don't qualify for automatic admission, public universities can consider a variety of factors, including extracurricular activities, academics, test scores and socioeconomic status, but they are not required to consider any of these factors, according to the Texas Education Code.

Senate Bill 518, filed by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, would mandate that schools consider a student's scores on standardized tests, such as the ACT or SAT, for admission. The bill, which has been advanced to the Senate Committee on Education, also would require graduate or professional programs to consider standardized tests.

Concerns regarding the prospective use of artificial intelligence as an aid in writing college admissions essays and possibly in taking SAT/ACT exams continue. In this page on the OpenAI website, the program developers state that their product (called GPT-4) scored a 1410 on a simulated SAT, which would place it at the 91st percentile among actual test-takers. The program also easily passed the BAR exam and excelled on the LSAT and most AP exams.


We’ve created GPT-4, the latest milestone in OpenAI’s effort in scaling up deep learning. GPT-4 is a large multimodal model (accepting image and text inputs, emitting text outputs) that, while less capable than humans in many real-world scenarios, exhibits human-level performance on various professional and academic benchmarks. For example, it passes a simulated bar exam with a score around the top 10% of test takers...