by Sara Calvert-Kubrom, former admissions officer at Lewis & Clark College

It is time for a follow-up from our September article about the California State Court preliminary injunction that could have banned the University of California system from using standardized test scores!

For much of October, news about this case has been unclear because an appellate court temporarily stayed the ruling requiring the UCs to stop using the SAT or ACT in their admission process. Essentially, the UC system was still allowed to use standardized test scores in their admission process for applicants to fall 2021, with each campus given the freedom to decide if they wanted to adopt a test blind or test optional policy. This piecemeal approach left students confused and unsure of whether or not to submit scores.

All of this changed on October 29, when the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco unanimously decided to lift the stay. What does this mean?  As of today, all UC campuses are barred from using standardized test scores in their admission process for fall 2021 applicants. Although the UCs could appeal this ruling, they are running out of time as the month-long window to submit the UC application opens this Sunday, November 1.

Here is some additional clarity for interpreting this news:

  • Defining the terms:
    • Test blind = test scores will not be used (or even looked at) in the admission process.
    • Test optional = if a student has test scores and wants to share them, the scores will be utilized in the admission process.
  • Before October 29, the following campuses had already opted to go test blind (regardless of the court ruling):

Although UC Davis, UCLA, and UC San Diego are still appearing as test optional on their websites, the court ruling makes me assume they will either become test blind voluntarily or that they will be blocked from using scores unless the UC system appeals the ruling. It is important to keep a close eye on these campuses’ individual office of admission websites for changes. As of the morning of October 30, the UC system had not made a press release about this topic.

For families with younger students, remember that regardless of the court case, all UC campuses will be test blind for California residents by fall of 2023 as they already announced a gradual transition to remove standardized testing from the process.

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Written by Sara Calvert-Kubrom
Sara Calvert-Kubrom is a member of College Coach's team of college admissions consultants and a former admissions officer at Lewis & Clark College and leader of the N.U.in Program at Northeastern University. Visit our website to learn more about Sara Calvert-Kubrom.