The surprising list of schools that are no longer requiring college entrance exams

COVID and the Classroom

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – This week’s announcement by Southern Illinois University Edwardsville that it’s going test-optional for admission is a growing trend and it goes beyond the pandemic.

FOX 2 talked to dozens of college students about the ACT and SAT tests and the new trend making them optional.

Granite City High School senior Jose Mendez is on track to graduate a semester early.

“I want to be a market analyst and I’ve been thinking about going to the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville,” Mendez said.

SIUE just announced it was joining a growing list of schools who are not requiring college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT.

“When they first announced that, it’s a sign of relief; but I have two options, I could either focus on my GPA or take the SAT for a higher score,” Mendez said.

About 400 universities have moved to test optional due to COVID-19 cancellation of tests. However, these changes were already long underway, as about another 800 have added test-optional admission options for students who have thrived in their high school curriculum.

That includes students like Mendez, who has a 4.5 GPA on a 5.0 scale.

“I just study a lot,” he said. “You have to be consistent with your schoolwork.”

Many schools are basing their decisions on concerns of testing bias that may exclude solid students who don’t test well.

“It’s very exciting because it brings opportunities to students from various backgrounds, including students who have IEPs and now these students will actually have a chance for admission to the university,” said Kelley Brooks, SIUE assistant director of admissions for campus visits and outreach.

Schools are finding high school GPA is a more reliable sign of success and retention of college students.

More schools appear to be moving this way than those still requiring the tests. We’ve spent hours talking to dozens of people at universities, both administrators and students, about the changes.

Here’s who is no longer requiring tests:

Mendez says he’s still practicing for the tests though.

“I plan on taking it in October. I’m trying to get a good score on it to get some scholarships. You have to prepare yourself for a big test like that. It takes time.”

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