In a two-year pilot study, the University of Utah is electing to make the submission of standardized test scores, the SAT or ACT, optional for applicants beginning with the fall 2021 admissions cycle. The U’s enrollment management team will continue its holistic review process for students, taking into consideration other elements such as high school GPA and course rigor.
“This is the right time to try a standardized test-optional admissions process for several reasons,” said Steve Robinson, senior associate vice president for enrollment management at the U. “Our goal is always to make applying to the U as accessible as possible. We know students may be having a difficult time taking the standardized tests due to the coronavirus pandemic, and even before that, we were looking at this as a way to decrease some of the costs and complexities associated with the application process.”
There are some exceptions for the first year of the test-optional pilot study. Students who do not earn a 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. A test score will also continue to be required for students hoping for direct admissions to select programs and those applying for merit scholarships. However, deadlines for those required to submit a test score will likely be pushed back due to limited testing opportunities during the pandemic.
“Student safety and accessibility are top of mind for us in making this decision,” said Robinson. “We will be implementing new methods and technology over the next two years to ensure the admissions process remains comprehensive despite no longer receiving standardized test scores. We look forward to the results of the pilot to determine whether this may be a permanent change for the U.”
Feb. 1, 2021, is the current deadline for admission for students wishing to begin in fall 2021.