FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) — Students with aspirations to attend Colorado's public universities and colleges will no longer be required to take the SAT or ACT exams to be accepted. Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill in to law, Tuesday, which voided the longstanding requirements for ACT and SAT scores on applications.
Every public college and university in Colorado supported the legislation. Colorado State University Director of Admissions Heather Daniels said the change allows schools to focus on an applicant's overall education while also making the process fair for people of all economic backgrounds.
"It allows all students to have the opportunity to be on a level playing field," Daniels told CBS4's Dillon Thomas. "What this does is create more opportunities for students."
Students applying for the Fall 2021 semester were the first class in recent years to skip the ACT and SAT scores in their applications. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented many students from being able to take it.
Schools like CSU saw record application rates. CSU reported a spike in applications from students in low income, minority and marginalized communities as a result.
Daniels said the SAT and ACT have steadily become more archaic and unnecessary as time has passed. She said studies often showed the tests favored students from higher income families because they cost money to study for, take and apply with.
"Most of the tests favor students who have those resources who can prep for the test, to take test prep classes, to take afterschool tutoring, and take the tests multiple times," Daniels said.
Current students at CSU, like Cade McCumber, said they supported future students not having to take the tests. McCumber said the tests were not fair to some of his peers and caused excessive levels of stress.
"For a bunch of my peers it was the most stressful part of their high school experience," McCumber said. "It was a metric of their success. They couldn't afford the private tutors, they couldn't afford the online questions."
McCumber said he felt acceptance to a university should be based off of a review of your academic career as a whole.
"It the sum total of who you are and your experiences," McCumber said.
Schools can continue to accept SAT and ACT scores, though they are not required. Daniels said students who performed well on their exams may choose to submit them as an underscore to their other qualifications.
Daniels said CSU has been prioritizing qualifications away from the SAT and ACT for years already.
"We have much more context now we can look at besides just that test score," Daniels said.
Daniels encouraged future applicants to continue to challenge themselves by taking harder classes and performing well in them throughout college. She also encouraged students to use their application essays to sell themselves as strong students and community members, and said the essay could be used to also explain why a grade in a course may not have been reflective of their capabilities.
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