George Washington University announced today that it will no longer require most applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores as part of the admissions process for freshman or transfer students.
“SAT/ACT scores will be considered an ‘optional’ credential, and students may decide whether they will submit their scores to GW to be included in their application. The Admissions Committee will consider scores in a manner that is consistent with other documents that are often submitted by candidates but which are not required for an application to be considered complete, such as resumes, supplemental letter of recommendation from individuals other than a teacher/counselor and interviews.”
According to GW’s website, applicants will be able to communicate whether they intend to submit scores for consideration via the Member Screen of the Common Application, which goes live on August 1. It will be up to the student to then arrange to have an official score report sent directly to GW.
GW will continue to superscore SAT’s for applicants electing to submit, but will not superscore the ACT. Instead, admissions will consider the highest submitted composite score. GW will not recalculate a new composite score from subsection scores on different test dates.
The test-optional policy will not apply to
- Applicants to the Accelerated seven-year BA/MD program
- Homeschooled students
- Applicants applying form secondary schools that provide only narrative evaluations rather than some form of grading scale
- Recruited NCAA Division 1 athletes
Students who previously sent their scores to GW but who now wish to have them removed from their application should email the Office of Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is important to include the name used when registering for the test and date of birth in the email request.
GW made the decision to go test-optional in response to recommendations from the Access committee of the university’s Task Force on Access and Success. Members of the task force reached the conclusion that the “best predictor of academic success in college is a student’s high school record, especially their high school GPA.”
“Although we have long employed a holistic application review process, we had concerns that students who could be successful at GW felt discouraged from applying if their scores were not as strong as their high school performance,” said Dean of Admissions Karen Stroud Felton in a statement to the Washington POST. “We want outstanding students from all over the world and from all different backgrounds – regardless of their standardized scores – to recognize GW as a place where they can thrive.”
And GW is not alone in coming to this decision. According to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), 40 colleges and universities have adopted test-optional policies since spring 2013. Like GW, many of the institutions going test-optional in the past two years are among the nation’s most competitive. The list includes Beloit, Brandeis, Bryn Mawr, Drake, Hood, Kalamazoo, Sienna and Wesleyan.
In addition, a growing number of public universities such as Eastern Connecticut, Monmouth State, Old Dominion, Plymouth State, Rowan, Temple, and Virginia Commonwealth University have eliminated ACT or SAT score requirements for many or all applicants.
FairTest’s list of test-optional colleges and universities now includes more than 180 institutions ranked among the “top-tiers of their respective categories.” More than one-third of top-ranked liberal arts colleges have test-optional policies.
A complete list of test optional schools may be found on the FairTest website.