First-year students for the 2021-22 school year will not have to take SAT or ACT tests to gain admission to Fort Lewis College after many students were unable to schedule dates for the college-entrance exams because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For admission for the (next academic) year, we will be test optional at Fort Lewis College and students will not be required to submit scores for admission or for merit scholarship consideration,” said Jess Savage, director of admission.
In spring 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, SAT and ACT exams were canceled across the country, including Colorado. High school students typically take the college entrance exams in their junior year.
In response, the General Assembly passed legislation temporarily allowing Colorado public institutions of higher education to determine whether to require national assessment test scores for admission for first-time, first-year students who graduate from high school in 2021. The temporary allowance and existing exceptions to state-mandated admission standards allow FLC to go entirely test-optional for all students for the coming year.
“In addition to high school graduates the law applies to, we feel extending the same relief to all students is the right thing to do,” Savage said.
By making admission tests optional, students are relieved of the burden of rescheduling the test during the pandemic.
FLC President Tom Stritikus said, “We’re grateful for the leadership at the state level for students who were impacted by COVID-19.”
FLC has been examining broadening its admission process beyond test scores and recently introduced a holistic review method to assess students whose test scores would have otherwise made them inadmissible.
“I think it’s absolutely the right move for FLC and for Colorado to drop SAT or ACT scores as part of the admission requirements, not only because at this point in time so many students have been impacted by COVID-19 and unable to access tests, but also because SATs and ACTs are not good predictors of college success,” Savage said.
Taking into account students’ high school transcripts, their completion of the state Higher Education Academic Recommend courses and understanding the context of their educational experiences, as well as what circumstances were present in their life, provide broader view of whether students will succeed, she said.
Applicants will have the option to submit SAT or ACT scores with their college applications, but the scores will not be weighted heavily in the review process. Applicants who choose not to submit a test score for admission will not be negatively impacted.
“Students are welcome to send ACT or SAT scores as they may be helpful for placement purposes,” Savage said. “For example, if a student meets a minimum score on a standardized test subject, they may not need to take a placement exam for class registration. But a student should know that their test scores are not going to make or break their chance of admission.”