Chattanooga area schools waive SAT/ACT score requirements for upcoming school year

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May 29—Colleges and universities across the nation waived SAT and ACT requirements for applying students amid the coronavirus pandemic, and some — including schools in the Chattanooga area — continue to waive these requirements for the upcoming school year and years to come.

The University of Tennessee in Knoxville will not require applicants to submit a test score through fall 2025, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

At the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the test score is now optional for students with a GPA of 3.0 or above for admissions in spring or fall 2021, but the school requires a teacher recommendation in its place. The test-optional choice will continue beyond 2022, said a spokesperson for the school in a Friday email.

Typically, Cleveland State Community College does not require SAT/ACT test scores for admission, and the school will continue that policy for the 2021-22 school year, said director of admissions Cate Green in an email Friday.

Amanda Bennett, interim vice president for student affairs at Chattanooga State Community College, said the school requires placement scores for admission. These scores include SAT or ACT test scores or scores from other tests such as Accuplacer.

Due to the pandemic, the school now accepts high school GPAs 5 years old or less as one of these placement scores and hopes to keep the change in place going forward.

"That's been a great change because it means students don't have to take a test or perhaps their test scores don't reflect their aptitude," Bennett told the Times Free Press Friday. "Some students don't test well, but their GPA can now be used to maybe get them into college-level courses and bypass any sort of learning support course."

Home-school parent Mandi Johnson said she has communicated with seven or eight colleges in Georgia and Tennessee about admission requirements, and that most schools told her they are test-optional. She told the Times Free Press on Friday that her son and most other home-school students she knows have taken the SAT, ACT and other standardized tests since some schools require the scores for scholarships.

"For me personally as a home-school parent and teacher, it's a benchmark, it's a way for me to be assured that my student is academically at pace with the other students who are going to be entering," Johnson said. "We don't know what the future holds — whether these test scores are going to go and be important again in a few years or they're not — and so we're going to have to continue to study for and prep for these types of tests, and the financial aid that can be brought along with these tests is still going to be very important."

Contact Anika Chaturvedi at or 423-757-6592.

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