Why aren’t more overseas universities going test-optional?



















The SAT cancellations due to Covid-19 started rolling in this past March.

Then May also fell through.

June as well, and almost half the August tests, too, were cancelled.


Hundreds of thousands of rising seniors have been affected, and if you did manage to get an SAT score in the books, consider yourself lucky.

Meanwhile, much of the testing anxiety for those starting the college application process this fall has been countered by the fact that so many U.S. colleges have announced test-optional policies for this cycle (and possibly beyond).

In fact, there are more than 1,450 accredited, 4-year institutions now test-optional in the U.S. for Fall 2021 admissions, according to FairTest.


In the news recently, the NCAA also announced students enrolling full-time starting in 2021 who will play Division I or II athletics will be exempt from submitting standardized tests.

The National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) also released a report calling for colleges and universities to effectively reexamine testing policies for admissions, citing inequities—inequities that will be even further exacerbated by the pandemic.


And just this week, a judge ruled that test-optional alone isn't enough for the University of California system; it's prohibited from using the ACT or SAT at all.

But what about students interested in college abroad? How do they still apply for degrees overseas?

Are they the real victims in all this?


Yes and no.


I mentioned in a previous post that Macquarie University in Australia was quick to go test-optional.


Since then Goldsmiths, University of London also joined the ranks, and The University of Edinburgh "will look at alternative evidence... college and honours level classes with strong grades in relevant subjects to the programme (major) to which you are applying."


There are likely more in the works, but proposed changes within overseas universities--most of which are large and public--tend to take a lot of time, effort and papers put forward to committees that maybe meet once a month at best (usually driven by the U.S. recruiters themselves).


But the real answer to the first question comes down to the fundamental way in which other countries view secondary education in the U.S.--that the U.S. high school diploma is not equivalent to theirs.