From september 2021, nearly half of four-year colleges and universities in the United States have eliminated the SAT or ACT (American College Test) scores for admission to degree courses, starting with the University of California

Over 1,200 universities, including elite colleges such as Brown, Caltech, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, the University of Virginia, and Yale, have stated that use of test scores is optional. Some, such as the University of Virginia, have suggested that this policy may be maintained beyond this year’s admissions.

Standardised test scores, like the SAT or ACT, are highly beneficial for foreign students, according to Jamie Beaton, co-founder and CEO of Crimson Education. “To end a long tale short, I think that’s a little unfortunate for international students,” said Beaton, whose firm assists international students in acquiring admission to colleges in the United States and the United Kingdom. The SAT helps admitting officers at universities standardise things, and Crimson Education recommends that international students take the test, even if it is optional. So according Sonya Ghandy Mehta, school director of the Pathways School in Aravali, 2021 could be a difficult year for Indian students wanting to pursue graduate studies in the United States.

“Test-optional or test-flexible admissions could put Indian students at a disadvantage for merit-based scholarships, however some schools may consider applications even if they do not have SAT or ACT scores,” she said. The SAT, which is conducted by the College Board in the United States, was developed with the intent of increasing college access, as per the College Board. While it isn’t opposed to the decision reached by a number of universities.

The goal of the SAT is to assess a high school student’s college preparation and give universities with a single point of comparison for all candidates. Standardized test scores will be evaluated alongside your high school GPA, classes taken in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors, extracurricular activities, admissions interviews, and personal essays by college admissions staff. The significance of SAT scores in the college admission process varies per school.

Many schools and institutions in the United States are requiring students to be revaccinated if they have received vaccines that have not been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), such as Sputnik V and Covaxin. They cite a paucity of data on the vaccines’ efficacy and safety.

According to the Open Doors report released on Monday, the number of Indian students studying in the United States decreased by 4.4 percent year over year to 1,93,124. In 2018-19, there were 2,02,014 Indian students seeking degrees in the United States, up from 1,96,271 in 2017-18. Last school year, about a million overseas students visited the United States. Most lawmakers recognise the value of overseas students, including Indian students, to the United States. International education is the fifth-largest service sector export in the United States, bringing in about $41 billion in 2019. Vaccine regulations could force approximately two lakh Indian students who study in American colleges every year to revaccinate unless they take the Oxford-AstraZeneca ‘Covishield’ vaccine in India.

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