West Virginia University announced Wednesday that — at least temporarily — it’s joining the growing ranks of colleges that don’t require an SAT or ACT score to get in.
WVU will waive the college entrance test requirement for at least this spring semester and fall of next academic year.
George Zimmerman, WVU’s executive director of admissions and recruitment, said many students seeking admission take the exams in the spring or summer between their junior and senior years in high school.
The state also gives all public school juniors a free SAT because it’s the statewide standardized test for that grade level.
The students who applied for the upcoming fall semester, which begins Aug. 19, mostly already had SAT or ACT scores, and those who didn’t were able to request exemptions, Zimmerman said.
“There just weren’t a lot of students who didn’t have that opportunity,” he said.
Amid the pandemic, the free SAT this year for West Virginia public school juniors was postponed to this fall, and spring and summer testing was canceled across the country. Current rising high school seniors may be worried about getting into WVU in Fall 2021.
Zimmerman said WVU wants to ease that anxiety for prospective students and their families, so it’s turning the infrequent past allowance for a student to get in without a test score into an option for all students.
“We have a lot of students who are starting the application process who do not have a test score at this point,” he said.
“We wouldn’t want a student to think that ‘If I don’t have that SAT or ACT score, I can’t even apply to the university,’” he said.
For those without scores, Zimmerman said “we will obviously be focused much more on the curriculum piece (grade point averages and completion of core classes) in the absence of a test score because those are going to be the only other indicators we have.”
He noted students must still submit test scores for certain scholarships, including the state-controlled and state-distributed $4,750-per-year Promise Scholarship.
And he said some majors in the university, like engineering, may still want an SAT or ACT for admission into those particular programs, but WVU is working with its various component colleges on flexibility.
He said that could include taking an online math placement exam, or the college accepting Advanced Placement scores or dual credit — college credit earned in high school — as proof of proficiency. He said these are things that can be worked on after a student applies.
“It’s really important for families to understand that WVU has rolling admissions,” he said. “So that means if you’re admitted to the university, we can work with the student throughout the process to gain entry to particular programs and qualify for a scholarship.”
You can get more information at admissions.wvu.edu/covid#test-optional, but WVU said exact admissions requirements for Spring and Fall 2021 applicants, including applicants without scores, won’t be released until the start of next month.