The University of Mary Washington will offer high-achieving prospective students the opportunity to opt out of providing standardized college admission tests with their application for enrollment. The University’s Board of Visitors approved the action during its April meeting.
Beginning with the 2015-16 recruitment period, high school students who have maintained at least a 3.5 grade point average have the option of waiving submission of their SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or ACT (American College Test) scores when applying for admission to the university. Previously, UMW required either SAT or ACT scores for students to be considered for admission.
Students applying for merit-based scholarships would be ineligible for this program.
“High school GPAs are by far one of the strongest predictors of college success,” said Kimberley Buster-Williams, associate provost for enrollment management and admissions. “We welcome the opportunity to consider admission for students who perhaps do not test well or for whom a standardized test doesn’t reflect their true potential.”
Strong academic students traditionally pursue a rigorous high school curriculum that includes college-level courses, Buster-Williams said.
She added that the most compelling reason for instituting a test-optional policy is to enhance the diversity of the student body. Data reveals that schools with test-optional policies often see increased applications from minorities, women, Pell-eligible students, first-generation college students and students with learning differences. In addition, a growing body of evidence suggests that high school GPA is a better indicator of student success in college than standardized test scores.
Currently, more than 800 colleges and universities no longer require the submission of standardized test scores in admission decisions, according to Fair Test: The National Center for Fair and Open Testing.
To be considered for admission to UMW, any student who applies to UMW must submit a high school transcript, essay and letters of recommendation.