Standardized testing exemption extended for two more years


The University of Utah will not require standardized test scores in their application process for at least two more years. Because of disruptions caused by COVID-19, the U first made standardized tests optional for applicants in 2020 for a two-year trial period. Now, that period has been extended through fall 2024 to broaden student access and allow further study of the impact test scores have on the application process.

“Two more years gives time for the landscape in testing to settle,” said Steve Robinson, senior associate vice president for enrollment management. “These additional few years get us to a point where we have more information on where testing stands as it relates to college access and student success.”

Students who were first admitted without test scores have now been at the U for one year, so comparison data is limited, but the rate of persistence from the first semester to the second semester has so far been similar to other years. The U received a record number of applications for classes starting in fall 2022, marking the first time that more than half of applicants did not submit test scores since the test became optional for many.

One benefit of a test-optional application is that it removes a barrier to those who are disadvantaged by the test requirement, but who are interested in going to college. Currently, none of the U’s peers in the Pac-12 Conference are requiring standardized tests.

“We look at an applicant’s GPA and the rigor of the curriculum the student enrolled in during high school, such as, whether the student took the most challenging courses their school offered,” Robinson said. “The holistic approach means we take all of the information we can find about students and meld that together to make a decision.”

There are some exceptions for a test-optional application. Students who do not earn a grade point average (GPA) that is directly comparable to other high school students, such as those who have a GED or those from non-accredited high schools, will still be required to submit a standardized test score.

More information on the application process can be found here.