Test-Optional Admissions list Tops 900 Colleges and Universities

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Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773                                         
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for immediate release Monday, November 13, 2016

“TEST OPTIONAL” ADMISSIONS LIST TOPS 900 COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES
AFTER SHARP, THREE-YEAR SPIKE OF SCHOOLS DROPPING
ACT/SAT SCORE REQUIREMENT FOR ALL OR MANY APPLICANTS

As this fall’s college admissions season peaks, a record 900 accredited, bachelor-degree institutions say they will make decisions about all or many applicants without considering ACT or SAT test scores. FairTest, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, released the tally. FairTest is the leader of the country’s test-optional admissions movement.

“The past three years – since the redesigned SAT was announced – have seen the fastest growth ever of schools dropping ACT/SAT mandates,” explained FairTest Public Education Director Bob Schaeffer. “More than 80 colleges and universities reduced standardized exam requirements in that period. That’s a pace of one every two weeks.”

Half of the national liberal arts schools ranked in the “Top 100” by the 2017 U.S. News “Best Colleges” guide are now on FairTest’s list. Highly ranked test-optional colleges include Bates, Furman, Holy Cross, Muhlenberg, Sewanee, Smith, Wesleyan and Whitman.

All told, U.S. News lists more than 260 test-optional and test-flexible schools in the top tiers of their respective categories. Among first-tier national universities, Wake Forest, Brandeis, George Washington, Worcester Polytech, and American are all test-optional. So are the top three regional universities in the north, Providence College, Fairfield, and Loyola. Also on the list: the number two university in the south, Rollins; the third ranked school in the Midwest, Drake; and Mills College, fifth ranked among western regional universities.

Schaeffer added, “We are particularly pleased by the sharp growth in test-optional policies at access-oriented institutions, both public and private.” Recent public campus additions include, Montclair State (NJ), Eastern Connecticut, Temple (PA), UMass-Lowell, Virginia Commonwealth, and Western Oregon.  Among private, access-oriented schools, Hofstra, St. John’s and Catholic University eliminated ACT/SAT requirements in the past several years.

There are multiple reasons for the test-optional surge, according to FairTest. Schaeffer explained, “Admissions offices increasingly recognize that they do not need ACT or SAT scores to make good decisions. They know that an applicant’s high school record -- grades and course rigor – predicts undergraduate success better than any standardized exam. By going test-optional, colleges also obtain more diversity without any loss in academic quality. Eliminating testing requirements is a ‘win-win’ for both students and schools.”

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