In a major update to its undergraduate admissions policy, the University of Redlands will shift to a test optional admissions process, providing most applicants the choice of whether or not to submit SAT or ACT scores. The policy will go into effect this fall, for students entering college in the fall of 2021.
While the move to go test optional has gained momentum in the last few years, University of Redlands has studied this for several years. The proposal was supported and approved by the Faculty Senate after consultation with several faculty governance bodies, senior administration, and trustees.
“Nearly a decade of internal data shows us that a student’s high school grade point average (GPA) is the greatest predictor of success,” said Kevin Dyerly, vice president for enrollment at the University of Redlands. “We wanted to analyze information from members of the first two (2017 and 2018) entering classes who took the redesigned SAT to see if it added significant additional predictive value. We found that those students with the strongest high school GPAs persisted at Redlands at higher rates and performed well in the classroom, regardless of test scores.”
Belinda Sandoval Zazueta, U of R associate vice president of admissions, noted that the University is committed to providing a personalized education that frees students to make enlightened choices. “As a community that welcomes intellectually curious students of diverse ethnic, national, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds, choosing how a student presents themselves to the admissions committee not only aligns with our mission,” she said, “but also gives all students an opportunity to present their best selves in the college admissions process.”
Dyerly added, “We believe the test-optional admissions policy will assure greater educational equity for those seeking admission, without compromising our ability to make sound assessments of applicants.”
In lieu of standardized test scores, the University will assess other components of the application, including high school GPA, quality of writing, strength of curriculum, course sequences, contribution to the community, and community college courses taken, if applicable. All applicants will be considered for admission and achievement scholarships whether or not test scores are submitted.
“As a parent of a daughter who recently applied to college, the idea of a test-optional policy was appealing,” said Caryl Forristall, professor of biology at the University of Redlands. “I believe students will feel empowered by the opportunity to decide how they present themselves to a school.”