85% of the top 100 liberal arts schools have gone test-optional this year

85% of the top 100 liberal arts institutions are test-optional this year.

Reported by Inside Higher Ed, COVID has greatly accelerated the trend toward test-optional admissions policies, specifically because COVID prevented so many test takers from completing the ACT and SAT this spring. So much so that 85 of the top 100 liberal arts schools have announced they will be test-optional this year.

But some institutions, especially those in the ivy leagues, are going out of their way to insist that this temporary policy will only hold true this year. Why? Because for many institutions, especially those with deep STEM programs, these standardized test scores still ARE predictive for student success at their institutions.

The takeaway? The test-optional trend seems to have intersected with COVID to create an easy ‘out’ for those institutions for which test scores weren’t helpful anyway. But for those institutions that still do value those scores as accurate predictors of future student performance as shown in their data, are we heading toward a test-optional trend that will be difficult to turn back?

May you continue to fight the good enrollment growth fight at your institution today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

Have an Amazon Alexa-compatible product? Subscribe to our Enrollment Growth Briefing.

Eric Olsen

Eric brings more than a decade of award-winning creative brand development, marketing analytics and higher education experience to Helix Education. Eric is a graduate of Bradley University and earned his MBA at Lewis University.