Drury University joins growing list for test-optional admissions in response to pandemic

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 8:38 AM CST
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More than 1,300 accredited four-year colleges and universities are doing test-optional admissions, according to The National Center for Fair & Open Testing, FairTest.

Many institutions made the switch to drop the American College Test (ACT) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) from the application process as a response to the pandemic. Some colleges like, Drury University decided to make the test-optional switch permanent.

Kevin Kropf, Executive Vice President of Enrollment, said it was vital for Drury to make the switch to being test-optional to eliminate unnecessary hurdles for students.

“Students who want to take the ACT that’s fine,” Kropf explained. “We’ll still look at your ACT; but I really felt from an educational access standpoint, we were putting up a hurdle for an awful amount of students that didn’t need to be there.”

Standardized testing was designed to identify talent, stressed Kropf, not become a burden for students. Kropf said with technology and the way students are going about their college search, he doesn’t think test scores are needed anymore.

“It’s really an opportunity for students to tell their stories without a number they earned for three and a half hours on a Saturday,” said Kropf. “We’re more concerned about what students did in three-and-a-half years than what they did on a Saturday.”

He stressed that “test-optional” admission does not mean institutions have lowered the standards of selected applicants.

“People think, oh I’ll apply and I’ll just get in,” said Kropf. “No, that’s not who we are. We’re still going to review that application, we want an essay, we want to see how well you write, and we want to see the things you are involved in.”

The bigger picture of the application process, Kropf stressed, is what Class 101 Southwest Missouri owner Laurie Goslee is emphasizing to students.

“Volunteer work, and their academic courses, and their community involvement and extracurricular activities, all of those things and parts of the applications will play a bigger part in the application process,” explained Goslee.

While she has decades of experience with student college and professional development, she’s unsure what the future will hold for standardized testing. However, Goslee says she still has a handful of students taking ACT prep courses-- both virtual and in-person because it’s still a tool for other academic resources.

“Even though a lot of the colleges have gone test-optional, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s test-optional for scholarship opportunities. So, for scholarships, they’re still looking at ACT and the standardized test,” Said Goslee.

To help students prepare for the ACT and SAT, College 101 Southwest Missouri offers free college planning consultation. Goslee says they’re also preparing for their next ACT prep course starting in March. For more information click here.

Missouri State is test-optional for those who have a 3.25 high school GPA or higher.

To see a full updated list of schools that are now test-optional click here.

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