Grace Gillespie, Staff Writer
An increasing number of universities and colleges are changing their admissions policy to no longer require an admissions test, such as the SAT or the ACT. This means undergraduate students will no longer have to send universities their SAT and ACT scores. Since 2019, a host of liberal art schools have started to adopt this type of test-optional policy, with the intent that student acceptance should not be based on a single test.
It has become a common routine for high school juniors and seniors pursuing higher education to take the SAT or ACT. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down face-to-face schooling, many high school seniors who had planned to take placement tests this spring are no longer able to do so.
Beginning in the school year of 2020-2021, incoming freshmen will no longer be required to submit their test scores when applying to Saint Martin’s University.
In a virtual interview, Dean of Admissions, Pamela Holsinger-Fuchs, Ph.D., shared how Saint Martin’s has been considering the change in policy for several years: “We made the change for just those seniors that were not able to test, and then opened the discussion up to make it a permanent change. It was presented to the faculty senate and our Cabinet and no one had any issues making it a permanent policy going forward.”
At present, this is a one-year policy, but such a change becoming permanent seems to have a rather high likelihood. Holsinger-Fuchs also commented that on the whole, a student’s grade point average tends to be a stronger indicator of how they perform overall. This is evidenced by the over 1,100 colleges that have already chosen to go test optional, having shown no negative impact on their student’s academic performance.
There are some concerns with switching to this policy. Students who worked hard, studied, and took the SAT and ACT early might feel their work was for nothing. Another concern is that those hoping to receive scholarships because of their test scores might be unable to do so.
One upside of changing to a test optional method is that it could attract more applicants to the school and lead to higher acceptance rates. The other benefits of switching to a no test admissions system are reducing stress on students while they are applying to schools because they will no longer have to worry about their scores being high enough to get into the colleges they wish to attend. Additionally, the SAT and ACT cost around $50 to take, plus the cost of a written essay and registration fee, and such a cost can be prohibitive for some families.
Schools opting to take a test free or optional route, show that they are willing to make accommodations for students who are unable to complete the tests many universities currently require for their applications.