Farewell Subject Tests

Ryan Idrogo-Lam/Photography Intern

Beginning with this fall 2012 cycle, students applying for admissions at the University of California campuses no longer have to take SAT Subject Tests as an eligibility requirement.

Although this may seem like a sudden change, faculty and administrators proposed this idea several years ago. Statewide research has demonstrated that several top students were not considered eligible for admissions into the UC system simply because of misunderstandings about basic requirements. Due to the misconception, students failed to take the SAT Subject Tests and had to be excluded from the admissions process.

“What this does,” stated Brent Yunek, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Services at UCI, “is that it allows more students to be considered, so that we are doing our best job, then, with all students in our applicant polls to identify the very best students.”

Even though SAT Subject Tests are no longer required, they have not been eliminated altogether. In fact, it is highly recommended that students applying to competitive programs such as science and engineering, still take the tests. If students choose to take the SAT Subject Tests and perform well, their applications would look much more competitive by comparison..

According to Mr. Yunek,, this option is precisely why the SAT Subject Tests were not removed altogether.

. “As we are evaluating their applications, the more positive factors that we have to draw from, the better we can move that student up into selectivity, especially at campuses that are selective like Irvine,” Yunek said.

Overall, the Subject Tests will be likened to any other academic achievement or award and will be clumped with the academic portion of the application. Not taking them, however, will not reflect negatively on a student’s application. For example, just as a student will benefit from being named valedictorian, they also will not be penalized if they are not. It is the same for good scores on the Subject Tests.

In this manner, Mr. Yunek explains, “It can only help. It will not hurt.” According to Yunek, applicant readers are familiar with this principle and will therefore not penalize any student for either not taking the Subject Tests or for taking them and doing poorly.

For many students, this is a huge load off their minds. While already worrying about preparations for the SAT Reasoning Test, regular academics and extracurricular activities, some students feel that it is too expensive and time-consuming to have to worry about the Subject Tests as well.

Commenting on the application process, Jacob Fanous, a senior at Mayfair High School, complains, “So then the money starts to add up and also the time studying in addition to the studying you already have to do for school and the time it takes for applications, which is very time-consuming.” Therefore, having one less thing to worry about, Jacob states, “It’s just a relief right now.”