UConn announced this week that it is entering a three-year pilot program to “study whether the policies influence its student success rates and increase accessibility to talented students who otherwise face barriers associated with the tests,” including SAT and ACT scores.
“While UConn had already been considering whether to pilot a test-optional process, the COVID-19 pandemic added impetus by exacerbating the underlying issues, since high school students currently have varying access to e-learning, preparation for the SAT and ACT, and conducive testing environments,” the university noted.
The university will begin testing the new admissions process for students applying to UConn in the fall of 2021, continuing through two admissions cycles. Students may still submit their SAT and ACT scores, but no student will be disadvantaged if testing results are not provided.
“UConn has always prided itself on the holistic review, which never has relied on a single data point in the evaluation of applicants,” UConn Director of Undergraduate Admissions Vern Granger said. “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 said that it will still be evaluating the student’s academic performance, strength of coursework, involvement, and leadership qualities. Applicants will also continue to be automatically considered for merit scholarships and Honors Program eligibility regardless of whether test scores were submitted.
The announced change in the admissions process comes after the College Board and ACT were forced to cancel March and June testing dates due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Officials noted that “ both testing agencies are actively developing alternatives to ensure this cohort of students have the ability to set for exams, including possibly online or through offering more frequent exams in the fall.”
Granger said that “ultimately, it is our hope this move will result in an even more diverse and inclusive applicant pool, which provides us a greater opportunity to build a community of students that reflect the breadth and depth of our institution.”
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