The Coronavirus and Test-Optional Admissions

Case Western and three other colleges cite the cancellations of tests to drop requirement that all applicants submit SAT or ACT.

March 23, 2020

Case Western Reserve University and three other colleges went test optional last week, citing the cancellation of SAT and ACT exams as a reason.

Richard Bischoff, Case Western's vice president for enrollment management, said, “We would rather students focus as best they can on their academic subjects rather than worrying about the SAT or ACT. Testing has always been just one factor in our evaluation of applications, and we are confident that we will continue to make quality admission decisions for those students who are either unable to test or who choose not to submit test scores.”

The COVID-19 crisis affected the timing of the decision. Faculty leaders agreed to proceed without a vote of the Faculty Senate as a result of their concerns.

“These scores have always made up just a portion of our evaluation of prospective students, and we don't want our future applicants to feel hamstrung by circumstances far outside their control,” said Peter Shulman, associate professor of history and chair of Faculty Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education.

The change will be effective with those who apply to Case Western in the fall of 2021.

Also going test optional and citing the test cancellations were Concordia University Texas, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and Westminster College, also of Pennsylvania.

Other colleges are shifting to test optional but not citing the current health crisis. Announcements in recent weeks include Chapman University, Hamline University, St. Bonaventure University and the University of Redlands.

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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