Students applying to UConn will have the option of whether to submit SAT and/or ACT scores with their applications and the school said the decision will not impact the decision on whether they are admitted.
UConn says it will pilot the test-optional undergraduate admissions process for the next three application periods and study whether the policies influence student success rates and increase accessibility to talented students who otherwise face barriers associated with the tests.
The school said it had already been considering whether to pilot a test-optional process when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In addition to high school students moving from learning at school to learning at home, the College Board and ACT canceled the March and June testing dates this spring due to the pandemic and they are developing alternatives, including possibly online or through offering more frequent exams in the fall.
That has raised questions about whether applicants would have equal access and be taking the tests in vastly different atmospheres and preparation, according to UConn.
UConn will start the test-optional applications process with students applying to enter as undergraduates in fall 2021 through the following two admissions cycles.
Students could submit SAT and/or ACT results if they choose, but no admissions decision would be impacted and no student would be disadvantaged if a standardized test score is not provided, according to UConn.
The university joins several others nationwide with pilot or permanent test-optional policies.
“UConn has always prided itself on the holistic review, which never has relied on a single data point in the evaluation of applicants. With the move to test-optional, we feel that applicants will now have the confidence to present themselves in the best way possible, without the fear of misevaluation due to not performing as well as they hoped on the SAT or ACT,” UConn Director of Undergraduate Admissions Vern Granger said in a statement.
UConn said it assesses applicants on several factors, including academic performance, strength of coursework, involvement, and leadership qualities and applicants will also continue to be automatically considered for merit scholarships and Honors Program eligibility regardless of whether test scores were submitted, according to UConn.
UConn said its studies have found that while students who score very highly on the SAT and ACT tend to be successful at very high levels, the scores are not correlated to success at other ranges and many low-scoring applicants also had successful academic careers.