Jessa Rosenthal is a journalism sophomore and Mustang News opinion columnist. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.
I took the ACT three times, the SAT once and had months of tutoring to prepare myself for the exams. This was normal at my high school. We were taught that if we wanted to get into our competitive reach schools, we needed the test scores to match.
However, with the recent decision made by the CSU Board of Trustees, CSU campuses no longer require ACT or SAT scores for undergraduate admission. These tests provide a scholastic measure beyond GPA which helps differentiate applicants. Without those scores, what else in our application can we use to stand out?
If the CSUs are eliminating standardized tests, students need the option to supplement their application with more information about us as individuals.
The CSU application is complicated but doesn’t ask us much. Unlike elaborate private school applications that include personal essays, students report simply basic background information such as GPA and school courses. Students also report extracurriculars and work experience, but only the average number of hours participated, not the specifics.
When I applied, they asked for our SAT or ACT scores. This year, that’s not required.
When applying to colleges my senior year, I vividly remember looking up the admitted student statistics to see if my GPA and test scores matched those of the class above me. In a perfect world, if your scores matched the target range for the university you were applying to, you would be accepted. However, this was not the case.
The admission process was a lot more complicated and seemingly unfair. CSU admissions is already questionable in regards to fairness, but removing the ACT and SAT requirement only weakens applications and makes it even harder for applicants to appeal to the admissions teams.
Realistically, we only get one shot to apply to college, making it incredibly important to put your best foot forward on your application. The playing field is certainly not level when it comes to taking standardized tests. I was lucky to have the means to afford tutoring and I went to a high school that stressed the importance of going to college which enhanced my desire to perform well on my exams. This allowed for my test scores to strengthen my application. However, that’s not the case for everyone.
I know many are thankful standardized tests are a thing of the past and are envious of the incoming freshman, but it makes you wonder how students can differentiate their applications from each other if the only objective measure admissions see is GPA.
The CSU application needs to become more comprehensive, like the UC systems. In the UC application process, students are asked to list extracurriculars, awards and work experience with written descriptions, as well as four supplemental essays. With that addition alone, prospective students are able to showcase themselves as a well-rounded person as opposed to just a statistic.
In my UC application, I was able to present myself as an involved community member, an athlete and many other facets of my personal development. That’s not possible when applying to CSUs. The state schools only seemed to care about my GPA and test scores. The high school class of 2022 will only be able to rely on GPA.
Cal Poly prides itself on being an academic rigorous school with a low acceptance rate. However, they cannot possibly admit every student who matches their current GPA requirement. If the CSUs, Cal Poly included, wish to keep themselves at the rigor they are striving for, the admission process needs to give students more of an opportunity to show who they truly are.