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University to accept applications without standardized test scores for 2023

Applicants will not be required to submit an ACT or SAT score when applying to begin at the University in 2023.
Image by Mary Ellen Ritter
UMN’s admission process has changed after this summer’s affirmative action Supreme Court ruling.

The University of Minnesota is extending test-optional admissions for applicants and will not require applicants to include ACT or SAT scores in their application.

The University first developed test-optional admissions for students beginning at the University in fall 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic restricting in-person testing. This option was extended for 2022 students. After reviewing admissions and student success data, the University’s administration extended test-optional admissions for students beginning at the University in fall 2023 at their February meeting.

The University is also following other peer institutions who have decided not to require standardized test scores on applications, such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California system.

Although other institutions have gone test-optional for admissions permanently, the University of Minnesota will continue to make the decision on a year-by-year basis until they have a better understanding of student performance, said Robert McMaster, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education.
“We really have to be meticulous and understanding nationally what’s going on and be careful that we are in alignment as much as we can be with those institutions where we’re going to be competing for students,” McMaster said.

High school students typically take standardized tests, like the ACT, during their junior or senior year. Standardized test scores help colleges compare different students from various high schools when making admissions decisions, according to the College Board.

Although colleges commonly use test scores in their admission decisions, it is not the most important factor when applying to colleges, the College Board website said.

The University also takes into consideration factors like grade point average, rigor of high school curriculum and student rank when making admission decisions. Other factors include volunteer work and leadership roles, according to McMaster.

McMaster said requiring test scores makes it easier to compare students from across the country with various high school curriculum backgrounds and grading scales.
“The majority of our students here all have very strong GPA and strong coursework because it’s inherent in our admissions process, so it is very hard to split hairs and differentiate students on GPA,” McMaster said.
Students can still submit their test scores in their applications to the University, but they will not be penalized for applying without a test score, McMaster said.
One negative implication of requiring standardized tests for admissions is that students can have unequal access to testing resources within the education system, McMaster said.
“There’s a bias in these tests,” McMaster said. “Low income students, BIPOC students and first gen students for socioeconomic reasons don’t have the same access to some of the privileges that other students have.”
Regent Darrin Rosha also said using standardized tests can highlight inequalities between applicants.
“[Testing] has created some big gaps for various communities in having access to higher education that I don’t think are warranted,” Rosha said.
Rosha said he thinks that test-optional admissions have not negatively impacted the University’s success and has improved representation of underrepresented groups of students at the University.
“Not having a strong score is not an impediment at this point as it has been in the past, where a student that shows other capacity … they’re not held back solely by their test scores,” Rosha said. “That gives admissions more opportunity to find a broader range of those students to come to our University.”
Regent David McMillan said he supports the decision, but believes there should be an alternative measure the University can use to ensure efficient graduation rates among admitted students.
“My bigger concern is do we know what our entering classes are capable of?” McMillan said. “Do we know what we’re going to have to invest in them in order to make them successful?”

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated who made the decision to extending test-optional admissions. The University’s administration made the decision. Additionally, a previous version for this story misquoted Robert McMaster due a transcription error.

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  • Mark Mark Rossi
    Mar 3, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Businesses to accept applications without degrees for 2024.
    Thinking for oneself declared “quaint” and irrelevant with global universal internet access now complete.