Jul 22, 2010

American University Expands Test-Optional Admissions

American University recently announced that the test-optional pilot program begun last year will be expanded to include those regular admissions applicants organized enough to meet a November 1st filing deadline.

Last year, test-optional was restricted to early decision applicants only. This year, the university is encouraging students to apply early by allowing them to skip submitting ACT or SAT scores—but only if they can get their application completed and sent by no later than November 1.

“The priority deadline date of November 1 for our test-optional pilot program will provide our staff with more time to review the applications submitted without standardized testing,” explained Greg Grauman, AU’s director of admissions. “We learned from the first year of our pilot program that it takes twice the amount of time to review an applicant who has not submitted standardized testing.”

Students who wish to take advantage of American’s test-optional plan may do so provided they submit all of the following paperwork by the November 1 deadline

  • the test-optional form (available on the AU website beginning October 1, 2010);
  • a completed application; and
  • all supporting documents, including the application fee, counselor recommendation, teacher recommendation, and essay.

Once the test-optional form is submitted, American promises that under no circumstances will an applicant’s test scores be considered—even if a student has already arranged to have test reports forwarded to AU.

And the best part of all is that applying under the test-optional program will not affect consideration for merit awards or admission to the University Honors Program.

According to the AU website, the decision to expand its test-optional pilot program arose from the belief that academic performance is the single most important consideration in a “holistic” review of applicants. But anyone in the admissions business knows these reviews are extremely time-consuming.

In the second year of the pilot program, the AU admissions office will evaluate whether a test-optional policy that invites this level of detailed review would be desirable to implement for all undergraduate applicants.

More information on the pilot test-optional program may be found on the AU website.

1 comment:

  1. Nancy, do you think "test-optional" is going to become more prevalent in the years to come?