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College Admissions Testing Updates and Resources

By: TxCAN   |   February 2023

With testing season approaching, TxCAN shares test-optional updates and college admissions test resources to support both practitioners and students this testing season.

In March, many high school juniors across Texas will have an opportunity to take a college admissions test at school. For many students, this may be the first time they take a college admissions test. How can practitioners encourage students to truly strive to do their best during the administration of these spring college admissions tests? 

It is of vital importance that practitioners encourage and support their students to not only take the test seriously but to try their best.  During the pandemic, we saw a rise in colleges choosing to go test-optional but it is important to note that test scores can still impact automatic admissions, scholarship opportunities, and remediation. Below we will discuss test optional updates, messaging to encourage students who will be testing soon, and college admissions test resources for both students and practitioners. 

Test-Optional Updates 

The COVID-19 pandemic increased the number of higher education institutions choosing to go test-optional. For Fall 2023 admissions, over 1,830 colleges have announced they will continue to be test-optional according to Higher Ed Dive and about 1,450 colleges have made test-optional permanent in their admissions process.

Test-optional advocates share that eliminating testing requirements help improve applicant pool diversity, and a 2021 study reported gains in underrepresented groups including racial minority groups, low-income students, and women. Organizations like FairTest exist to advocate for the end of standardized testing. Test-optional advocates want more equitable admissions practices that do not disadvantage underrepresented groups. 

In 2022, the news was filled with announcements of selective universities like MIT, Georgetown, and Florida International University bringing back their testing requirements. Will this trend continue? It is too hard to say, but it is worth sharing with students that some colleges are still requiring test scores.   

In April 2022, The Texas Tribune wrote an article where they shared popular Texas schools who extended their test-optional policies. The schools mentioned included Texas A&M, Stephen F. Austin, and the University of Texas at Dallas. With so many schools choosing to be test-optional, how can practitioners motivate students to try their best during the upcoming testing season and why should they still try their best? In the next section, TxCAN shares messaging you can use to encourage your students to take college admissions testing seriously. 

Why Testing Still Matters 

The test-optional debate is likely to continue in the years to come. But the facts are college admissions tests like the ACT and SAT continue to affect other aspects of college life including scholarship opportunities and class placement. Share these examples with your students. 

Are you ready for college-level work?  

Colleges continue to use ACT and SAT readiness scores as a measure to determine if a student is ready for college-level reading, writing, and mathematics. These scores will help colleges determine if a student can take first-year math, reading, or writing or if they should be placed in a remedial class their first year. If students do not meet college readiness scores per the SAT or ACT, in Texas students have the option to take the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA). See College Readiness Test Scores below:  


(Data Source: ESC 14) 

Scholarship Opportunities 

Scholarships have a wide range of requirements and a number of them may still ask for SAT/ACT scores. Scholarship requirements vary, and endowed scholarships may be limited in their ability to change their application requirements.  In an admissions conference a couple years ago, a college representative shared that endowed scholarships with donors who have passed have very set requirements that cannot be changed to fit present test-optional times.  

Automatic Admissions 

In Texas, all public four-year universities offer automatic admissions to seniors who meet certain admissions criteria. These factors range from rank, GPA, and test scores. For example, Prairie View A&M University, offers students not in the top 10% of their class “Regular Unconditional Admissions”. Texas students qualify for Regular Unconditional Admissions at Prairie View if they have a grade point average of 2.5 AND an ACT score of at least 17 or SAT score of 820. Similarly, the University of Houston offers “Assured Admission” to students not in the top 10% of their class with certain test scores and class rank.  

Testing Resources 

The following list includes resources for practitioners and that practitioners can share with students who will be testing this upcoming spring.  

For Students: 

For Practitioners: 

We also recommend sharing some of the following testing tips with students; get a good night’s sleep the day before, eat breakfast, and bring a sweater in case the testing room is cold.  

TxCAN wishes all students and practitioners a successful 2023 testing season! 

The Texas College Access Network (TxCAN) connects and supports college access initiatives across Texas, with the goal of increasing access to college and certificate programs.