The University of Texas at Austin is requiring undergraduate applicants to submit standardized testing scores when applying to the school after four years of test-optional admissions.

The overview

The university removed the requirement from applications in spring 2020, when testing availability for the SAT and ACT became scarce due to the pandemic. Beginning fall 2025, it will no longer be optional when applying for an undergraduate program.

The March 11 announcement of the test score requirement also included the following changes to the application process:
  • Inclusion of a new optional deadline that will require submissions by Oct. 15, with a decision sent to applicants by Jan. 15. The regular deadline is Dec. 1, with decisions sent out by Feb. 15.
  • Reduction of short answer responses from three to two prompts
  • Inclusion of a new waitlist that will notify students by March 1 if they are admitted
  • Encouragement of applicants to submit letters of recommendation from people outside of their high schools
  • Modifications of the required essay that will give students more choice on the topic
The inspiration

UT officials said that part of the reasoning behind reinstating the requirement is that students who submitted test scores, compared to those who did not, performed better academically in their first semester of college.

Data released by the university found that of about 9,200 freshmen enrolled in 2023, those who submitted test scores in their applications were 55% less likely to have a first semester GPA lower than 2.0.

Quote of note

“Our goals are to attract the best and brightest students and to make sure every student is successful once they are here,” UT President Jay Hartzell said in a news release. “Standardized scores combined with high school GPA support this goal by improving early identification of students who demonstrated the greatest academic achievement, the most potential and those who can most benefit from support through our student success programs.”

Also of note

Texas State University in San Marcos exempts high school students in the top 75% of their class from submitting standardized test scores. Huston-Tillotson University, Concordia University and St. Edward’s University in Austin are still test-optional for undergraduate freshmen according to the respective university websites as of March 11.

What’s next

UT will require standardized test scores and implement other changes for the Aug. 1-Dec. 1 application period.

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