OU drops testing requirement for admission


ATHENS, Ohio — Ohio University announced the creation of a new test-optional admission pathway, permanently suspending the requirement of standardized test scores (ACT or SAT) for incoming first-year students on the Athens campus.

Applicants now can choose on the application whether standardized test scores should be considered as one of many factors considered during the holistic review of their application. The new option does not ban the use of scores; applicants still may choose to submit ACT or SAT scores for consideration if they wish, but there is no negative impact for choosing to not submit a standardized test score.

As part of OU’s response to COVID-19, a temporary test-optional pathway was previously implemented through Spring 2021 to provide flexibility as the ACT and College Board canceled national and school-based test administration dates. Based on the recommendations of a task force convened in spring 2020, that test-optional flexibility is now permanent. The Spring 2020 Test-Optional Task Force recommendations were shared with the Ohio University Board of Trustees at their June meeting.

“Ohio University strives to be a place of access and inclusion, even in our most rigorous and selective admission processes,” said President M. Duane Nellis. “We know that standardized testing sometimes can present access barriers. By making submission of standardized tests optional, I’m pleased that we can remove one more obstacle for students, especially in this moment.”

Standardized test scores represent only one factor that is considered when making admission decisions. Other applicant information is also reviewed, including academic performance, rigor of curriculum, grades and grade trends, class rank, optional essays, letters of recommendation, special talents and achievements, and more, to determine an applicant’s admission.

Currently, first-year applicants who have been out of high school more than a year and international students, and transfer students are already exempt from having to submit an ACT or SAT test score. OU’s regional campuses and online programs have open admission processes, so standardized test scores are not required. In accordance with state guidelines, College Credit Plus applicants still may be required to submit test scores.

“As the task force concluded, becoming test-optional is an effective option for students,” Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs said. “The data are clear that we can and should rely on other available information to make sound decisions about academic preparation for students who will benefit from the Ohio experience.”

Standardized test scores are currently used in varying degrees in other processes on OU’s main campus, including recruitment, scholarship consideration, honors and scholars programs, as well as requirements and requisites to specific majors. “Embracing test-optional admission is a positive step,” Sayrs said, adding that “test-optional applicants will receive full consideration for all of Ohio’s benefits.”

Academic deans, respective leaders, and existing work groups will evaluate and revise test-dependent practices and policies during the upcoming year to accommodate inclusion of test-optional applicants.

Information about OU’s test-optional admission pathway can be found on the Undergraduate Admissions website.

Information provided by Ohio University.