Recently, I proposed to the faculty of the University
of California that UC alter its use of standardized tests in the admissions
Specifically, I proposed that UC no longer require
students to take the SAT I. In its place, the university would continue
to require applicants to submit scores from three SAT II tests -
in writing, math and a subject of the student's choice. Over the
longer term, UC would seek the development of new standardized tests
more closely tied to the state's high school curriculum and performance
standards than any of the existing SAT exams.
You may have seen media coverage of this issue recently.
I want to be clear, however, that my proposal is simply that - a
proposal. The university today continues to require the SAT I, or
the ACT, for freshman applicants.
Students thinking of applying to UC in the coming
years should continue planning to take the SAT I or ACT, along with
the three SAT II tests. If and when the university makes any changes
in its admissions criteria, those changes will be widely publicized.
This proposal will be reviewed by UC's Academic Senate and the Board
of Regents, a process expected to take many months. To read more
about the proposal and to keep track of its status, you may find
the following Web site useful: www.ucop.edu/news/sat/.
General information about the university's admissions process also
is available at: www.ucop.edu/pathways/.
But for now, my advice to students preparing for
college remains the same as always: Take the most rigorous college-preparatory
classes offered by your school, focus on doing well in them, and
take all the necessary standardized tests - including the SAT I
Finally, if you are a student thinking about your
college options, let me take this opportunity to urge your consideration
of the University of California. We have a proud tradition of offering
an education of the highest quality at an affordable price, and
we hope you will consider joining us.
Richard C. Atkinson is president of the University
of California system, which has eight undergraduate campuses at
Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Santa
Barbara and Santa Cruz. An additional campus is planned for Merced.