What is the Future of Test-Optional Policies for Texas Colleges?
As the college admissions process enters the second year of the covid-19 pandemic, you may be wondering if colleges plan on extending their test-optional policies after the Fall 2021 admissions period. Given the news of vaccines and the expanded accessibility of SAT and ACT tests, there is no clear answer on what may happen in the future, but colleges have expressed their plans as of now, and one thing is clear: there’s no universal policy.
To give you some idea of what to expect for future admissions cycles, let’s review what prominent colleges in Texas have said about their “test optional” admissions policies:
Texas Colleges That Will Extend Test-Optional Policy Beyond Fall 2021
Baylor - Test-optional for Fall 2022 and Fall 2023 admissions.
“Baylor University has announced the extension of its test-optional admissions policy for the Fall 2022 and 2023 application cycles for incoming freshman students” -- a press release from 1/7/21.
Rice - Test-optional for Fall 2022 admissions.
“Students applying to Rice University for entry in 2022 will not be required to submit SAT or ACT for admission consideration. Students wanting to show their college readiness and academic strengths may choose to submit SAT, ACT, PSAT, Pre-ACT, AP, SAT Subject Tests, or IB test scores” -- First-Year Admissions website, as of 2/11/21.
Texas A&M - Test-optional for Fall 2022 admissions.
UT-Austin - It has updated its policy and WILL be test-optional for Fall 2022 (edited 2/25/21).
Texas Colleges That Will NOT Extend Test-Optional Policy Beyond Fall 2021
SMU - Test scores required for Fall 2022 admissions.
“At this time, this [test-optional] policy is only for students applying for admission for Spring 2021 and the following Fall 2021” -- Undergraduate Temporary Test-Optional Policy FAQ website, as of 2/11/21.
Texas Tech - Test scores required for Fall 2022 admissions.
“Texas Tech University has enacted a test optional admission policy for 2020 and 2021 terms” - Undergraduate Admissions website, as of 2/11/21.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, Texas colleges are split -- at least for now -- on how to approach their test-optional policies. However, since at least three colleges are planning on reverting back to the pre-pandemic policy of requiring test scores after 2021, you should plan on taking the SAT and/or ACT and doing well if you are a junior (or younger).
Also, as a reminder, any time a college changes its policy to “test optional,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t take the SAT and/or ACT. Typically admissions officers prefer having as much information about you as possible when conducting a holistic review, and test scores are quite helpful for contextualizing your academic performance.