Some colleges, universities not requiring standardized test scores for admission due to pandemic

Published: Dec. 7, 2020 at 6:32 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Some colleges and universities are no longer requiring the ACT or SAT test for admission, at least temporarily, due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

Students applying to the University of Iowa, Iowa State, and the University of Northern Iowa for the 2021-2022 school year will not be required to have to submit a test score to be accepted. It’s something that Cornell College in Mount Vernon chose to do five years ago, long before the pandemic struck.

“We saw a lot of students who were applying who had really great GPA’s but then had lower test scores that really didn’t match with what their GPA was,” Drew Shradel, the director of admissions at Cornell, said.

The temporary suspension of the requirement at other schools is not stopping a lot of students from taking the tests anyway. Kelly Finn, who founded FinnPREP, a local tutoring service, said she hasn’t noticed a change.

“We are seeing about the same numbers of students wanting to take the test,” Finn said.

The second-most widely used college admission test, ACT, has its national headquarters is in Iowa City. They have had around 750,000 students take the test across the country since they got testing sites back up this summer.

“Even if a school is test-optional, students and families know that if they send a score a school will look at it,” Janet Godwin, the CEO of ACT, said.

Finn said it comes down to saving money as some schools still require the tests for scholarships even if they don’t for admission.

”With merit aid, you always want to set yourself apart,” Finn said. “If you’re going to pay and write the check yourself then you don’t need to worry about the ACT.”

Officials said that it’s best to contact your desired institution if you have specific questions regarding requirements. As for Godwin, she isn’t worried about the future of standardized testing. She said during these times the tests may be the most accurate way of measuring future success.

“Even more than ever this sort of standardized objective measure of how a student is prepared for college is going to be so incredibly important because high school course grades and transcripts are just going to be messy,” Godwin said.

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