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| Thursday, April 24, 2014



AU expands ACT/SAT-optional admissions pilot program





Prospective AU students may finally be able to submit an application without standardized test scores in the near future, depending on the results of a pilot program being coordinated by the Office of Admissions for the fall.

Any prospective undergraduate student who submits an application by Nov. 1 this year will not be required to submit an ACT or SAT score with their application, according to Greg Grauman, Director of the Office of Admissions.

However, these applicants will not hear back from AU about their admissions decision any earlier than students who submit their Early Decision applications by Nov. 15.

This test-optional pilot program is an expansion of a similar admissions program held last year, in which students who applied Early Decision to AU had the option to exclude their standardized test scores from their application.

If prospective students choose to withhold their standardized test scores, admission officers’ view of their applications will not be negatively influenced, Grauman said.

Grauman said the decision to expand the test-optional pilot program this year was due in large part to the successes of last year’s test-optional pilot program for Early Decision students.

The Office of Admissions saw a 48 percent increase in the number of Early Decision applications from multicultural students last year. Offers of admission to qualified multicultural students increased by 20 percent.

A number of other colleges and universities have adopted similar test-optional policies. More than 830 four-year colleges currently do not use the SAT or ACT to admit substantial numbers of bachelor's degree applicants, according to Fairtest.org, the website for the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. These include other D.C. area schools such as George Mason University, the University of the District of Columbia and Gallaudet University.

Grauman stressed that this new test score-optional deadline is still a pilot program and not yet an actual policy.

“A much broader, university-wide, discussion would occur before any policy decisions were made,” Grauman said.

The test-optional pilot program has the support of Provost Scott Bass. He said this program helps the university achieve its goal of increasing the number of underrepresented students seeking admission at AU.

“Eliminating the need to submit standardized test scores is likely to attract more ‘best fit’ students to American University,” Bass said in an e-mail.

Bass also pointed out that this new policy could give applicants the opportunity to submit a more well-rounded application to AU.

“Allowing applicants to choose whether or not to submit their [test scores] will provide them with a little more control over what aspects of their application they would like to emphasize and how they present themselves to the admissions committee,” he said.

You can reach this staff writer at jryan@theeagleonline.com.