Colleges lift exam requirements due to pandemic

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Emma Malabanan, Staff Writer

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the world, at least seventeen colleges are not requiring SAT or ACT scores for the graduating class of 2021 and those enrolling in the fall of 2022.

“The approach of combining concern over COVID-19 and equity concerns generally is prompting many colleges to act” said Scott Jaschik, author of the article “Coronavirus Drives Colleges to Test Optional” on the website Inside Higher Ed.

Case Western Reserve University was one of the first schools to use the coronavirus to enforce change to their admissions. Rick Briskoff, who oversees the enrollment at Case Western, said the university had been considering going test optional for a while, because “it has been shown to improve equity.”

Tufts University is exempting these scores from their admissions due to the coronavirus, but they are also doing a three-year experiment in making the test optional.

Education Dive, an education-focused news website, said “some were considering test-optional policies before the pandemic hit, but it has pushed up their timelines, a trend that will likely continue.”

Oregon State University and University of Oregon have now announced that they are no longer requiring SAT or ACT scores in the future. This action has made every public university in Oregon test optional.

According to Jaschik, Student Voice is also urging colleges to drop the tests, with a campaign using the hashtag “#TestOptionalNOW.”

Scripps College made the announcement of a policy that said  “will allow admission officers to identify and advocate for students with a strong academic profile who may have previously been viewed as less competitive, based on their performance on a single exam, ” wrote Jacshik.

University of the Cumberlands has been considering a similar, if not exact, policy to Scripps College.

It is unclear if these policies that schools are now in the process of enforcing will be kept in place.

Franklin College is not only going test optional, but they are cutting the deposit required to have a secured admission spot from $200 to $100.

Some schools are trying to approach other fair solutions for admissions during this time of change.

Villa Maria College has already made their SAT and ACT score optional, but they are making a few more changes to their policies. For example, no deposit will be asked from students wanting to enroll, there is no May 1 deadline for responding to admissions applications, and all decisions will be based off of unofficial transcripts that are self-reported by students.