What percentage of top colleges in the United States will not require the SAT or ACT for freshman admittance by 2030?

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On May 21st 2020, University of California (UC) president Janet Napolitano proposed that the UC system phase out the requirement of the popular standardized tests, the SAT and the ACT. Given that UC schools comprise all five of the most applied to colleges in the United States, this move was seen by many as marking a transition in how college admission works in the United States.

Scott Aaronson wrote on his blog,

This is widely expected, probably correctly, to trigger a chain reaction, whereby one US university after the next will abandon standardized tests. As a result, admissions to the top US universities—and hence, most chances for social advancement in the US—will henceforth be based entirely on shifting and nebulous criteria that rich, well-connected kids and their parents spend most of their lives figuring out, rather than merely mostly based on such criteria.

Will his prediction be correct? This question asks, What percentage of top colleges in the United States will not require the SAT or ACT for freshman admittance by 2030?

Define a top college in the United States as a university that ranks in the top 50 for national universities according to the most recent ranking by US News and World Report. A spreadsheet of the 2020 rankings can currently be found on this page. If US News and World Report ends their ranking system by 2030, then these rankings will take its place, in order of priority,

  • The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings

  • Forbes college rankings

  • The Princeton Review Dream Colleges

The website PrepScholar has cataloged which colleges have previously dropped the requirement to submit the SAT/ACT in their application. You can find the current universities in tabular format here. By joining these two tables, we can see that just two top colleges are testing-optional: the University of Chicago and Wake Forest University. Therefore, the fraction before the UC change was 4%. Since six UC schools on the list have now made the tests optional, the current fraction is 16%.

This question resolves as the percentages of top colleges in the United States that do not require the SAT or ACT for future freshman admittance, according to the best estimates from the Metaculus community at the start of 2030.

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