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UT Austin temporarily removes standardized testing requirements

According to the university, this change ensures that testing limitations due to COVID-19 do not affect a student's ability to apply.

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin will not be requiring applying high school students to submit an ACT or SAT score as a part of their application for fall 2021.

According to the university, this change ensures that testing limitations due to COVID-19 do not affect a student's ability to apply. The university made this decision after evaluating the impact on students of ACT and SAT testing dates being canceled.

"This is a student-centered decision. During this time of uncertainty for students and high schools, we are focused on working with students to support their next steps toward college," said Miguel Wasielewski, UT's executive director of admissions. "Suspending this requirement ensures that students have the information they need to complete their application for admission."

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Students may still submit their SAT or ACT scores, but will not be required to do so. The school said that submitting or excluding scores will neither advantage nor disadvantage a student's application.

The university said on Tuesday that the test requirement will be reinstated for fall 2022 freshman admission, but that could change if there is a continued disruption to standardized testing accessibility. 

"If possible, I'd definitely try to make it a priority to take these standardized tests. We feel that these standardized tests definitely have provided a great measurement or dimension to students as they're going through this [application] process," said Deepak Thadhani, the president and CEO of Cram Crew.

Cram Crew is a Texas-based in-home consulting firm that helps students apply for college, among other things. Thadhani told KVUE for many of their clients applying to UT, having a good test score when applying could help them stand out. 

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"If we can add this extra dimension to the application, we feel like it's only going to help students not only for admissions [but] maybe even scholarships or honors programs," Thadhani said. "We're still telling our clients, 'Stay committed to the preparation, stay committed to taking these tests.'"

He added that this change by UT could potentially put pressure on admissions panels and committees since there could be a larger number of applicants now that the test scores are not required. 

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"Now we're taking that out of their hands and now they've got to really look at, you know, where did the student go to school, what kind of rigor they had. What does their GPA say? And then their essays and their resume," Thadhani said. "Keep in mind, this spring and summer, many of those extracurricular activities have also been canceled. So now they not only have the tests being taken away, if you would, now they even have a good portion of four to six months that are no longer going to be reflective of their resume. So, it's just going to put much more stress on the committee to make that right decision for the fall of 2021."

Currently, UT Austin admits eligible Texas students automatically if they're in the top 6% of their high school graduating class. 

The deadline to apply for UT's Fall 2021 semester is Dec. 1.

WATCH: UT Austin reopening campus in the fall


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