With removal of standardized test requirements, college application rates increase


Anna Myers

As spring progresses, college results have come out in waves, ranging from the beginning of March to the beginning of April. Most likely due to the removal of standardized tests, there has been a large increase in college applications, which in turn made getting in much harder than before.

College letters are being sent out to students worldwide, carrying news of rejection, acceptance, or the middle ground: the waitlist. With the pandemic’s prominent presence in 2020, the class of 2021 faced various complications in being able to do their standardized tests, with SAT and ACT appointments continuously being cancelled during quarantine. With this in mind, colleges had removed the requirement to send in standardized test results, which in turn led to an overwhelming increase in applications being sent. 

According to Inside Higher Ed writer Scott Jaschik in his article “‘Alarm Bells’ on First Generation, Low-Income Applicants”, the college applications done on the well used site Common App increased by 10%. Individually, the percentages were even higher. Popular out-of-state schools have experienced record-breaking application counts, for example, UCLA (the most-applied to university in the nation according to the UCLA newsroom) was reported by Fox 5 San Diego to have a 16% total increase, individual ethnic groups applying had even higher percentages. Some schools had to even push back their decision date due to the increase, according to the Stanford Daily, Stanford had to push their admission results from Apr. 1 to Apr. 9.

Another pattern has risen throughout the many years of applying for universities. Applications and acceptances have an inverse relationship, which was only emphasized this year. The acceptance rates of schools have continuously decreased with each new class being introduced to that college. An example of this is Yale. CNBC writer Jessica Dickler in her article “Covid is making it harder to get into a top college” covered that Yale, whose original acceptance rate was 14%, dropped to 11% this year. 

The removed requirement of standardized testing was a significant factor in the increase in applications being sent, however, it is only a contributing factor. Each year there are more applications being sent, popular colleges are becoming harder to get into, and eventually there is the fear that one day it will become nearly impossible. 

The more people applying for the university, leads to more people applying for the scholarships, which then decreases your chances of receiving either of these opportunities. Most of the factors that go into universities go hand-in-hand. More people means less of a chance. 

Now, after all of those statistics and the sudden awareness of the increase in difficulty to get into college, there comes the question on how exactly colleges will sort through applicants and choose. Standardized tests used to be a filter of sorts, which in turn brought a large amount of controversy considering many believed that it was not a fair measure of intelligence, with that requirement revoked, college admission teams had to pay attention to other details. 

It can be assumed that areas like grades, awards won, clubs and club positions, and essay question answers will increase in importance. These make you stand out as an applicant. How much you do and what you articulate says a lot about your potential as a student of their establishment. However, colleges can only accept a certain amount of applicants, many times the applicants in their state will take priority, so this is where the huge chance of being rejected or even waitlisted will come in. 

You have to remember that while getting into colleges increases in difficulty each year, it is not impossible. If you do not take the chance to apply, then you are rejected before you even tried. In the end, no matter where you go, you can grow in the world and do well in your field.