CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The pandemic is remodeling the way the admissions process will work at the University of Virginia.
Given the circumstances of the school year, UVA is making standardized testing, including the SAT and ACT, optional for those applying for Fall 2021 entry.
Students who wish to include testing as part of their application may do so, but those who do not will be at no disadvantage.
“I think given the uncertainty about access this year, we felt that it was a wise move to step back and offer a little bit more flexibility when it comes to standardized testing” Dean of Admissions Greg Roberts said.
The threat of contracting COVID-19 still remains very real, but that was not the only reason for this big change.
“In this case, it allows us to look at all sorts of things beyond testing and it might encourage students who otherwise might not be looking at UVA,” Roberts said.
UVA is not the first college to adjust this requirement. Virginia Tech, Harvard, and colleges across the country are making the same call.
“This year we’ll check it out, we’ll try to look at many variables and make these continually thoughtful comprehensive decisions and we’ll see where it takes us,” Roberts added.
Roberts claims that although SAT and ACT scores are a good measurement of academic ability, students ultimately should not be defined by their test scores.
“Our intent all along is to develop an admission process that allows us to to get to know a student in many ways not just a transcript, not just a test score,” he said.
Roberts hopes this will also accommodate low-income families and first generation college students.
“We hope that this evens the playing field a little bit,” he added.
That way, students with limited access to resources do not feel as if they are at a disadvantage in the process.
“Or opt out entirely and don’t apply to UVA because they can only take the SAT once and it’s not a great reflection of their ability," Roberts said.
Overall, Roberts hopes this helps the mental health of students who are navigating through a chaotic time.
“I think if nothing else this, I hope will ramp down the stress that the students are under at the moment," he said. "I think there’s a lot of pressure on these students it’s a really rough time for them.”
UVA will decide by next spring whether they want to stick to the testing-optional process depending on how the 2021 trial run goes.