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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Test scores should stay away from admissions

Illustration by Devon Crew

The University of Texas at Austin (UT), Dartmouth and Yale are among the schools which have returned to requiring students to report standardized test scores in their admissions applications. The decision, though not yet adopted by Texas State, could restrict the diversity of students admitted to these schools, as standardized test scores have done in the past.

COVID-19 put the entire academic world on pause. In response, most schools, including Texas State, adopted test-optional policies and decided to forego requiring students to submit SAT or ACT scores. Now, with nationwide testing having resumed, a few universities have reverted back to requiring potential applicants to submit their standardized test scores.

Not requiring test scores encourages a more diverse pool of applicants for potential admission and gives individual applicants more power in deciding how to present themselves to the university.

MIT was the first notable school to abandon its test-optional policy, reinstating the requirement in 2022. Dartmouth and Yale, two Ivy League schools, followed suit in February. Closer to home, UT announced it would reinstate the standardized test requirement beginning with applicants for the fall 2025 semester on March 11.

The decision to bring back the test score requirement is largely based on an internal study conducted by Dartmouth. This study found test scores helped identify students from disadvantaged backgrounds who were likely to succeed in college. Students who excelled within their circumstances had a higher chance of admission.

Texas State was one of the many universities to opt for a test-optional policy when COVID-19 hindered students’ abilities to reliably take their exams.

Looking at Texas State’s current admissions policy, only students ranked in the bottom 25% of their graduating class are required to report their SAT or ACT scores, also offering various avenues for assured admission.

Even though Texas State has remained firm in its test-optional policy, with UT requiring the scores again, the possibility of Texas State returning to a test-required policy grows more likely. As admission rates grow every year, further barriers to admission might cut down those overwhelming numbers.

Gary Ray, associate vice president of Enrollment Management at Texas State, said he prefers a holistic approach to admissions and reinforced the school’s choice to not require its applicants to submit test scores.

“Test scores are just another part of a student’s academic record to review in making the final assessment of college readiness,” Ray said.

For schools like Texas State, a Hispanic-Serving Institution with most of its students receiving financial aid, offering this kind of confidence to applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds is beyond valuable. If the school decided to require test scores once again, a significant portion of its applicants might feel alienated.

The studies conducted by Dartmouth and Yale were likely conducted in good faith and found results in favor of a testing requirement for a reason. Further, none of the schools aforementioned deny the history of racial and economic disparity between students’ scores.

Still, it’s hard to imagine every single admissions officer will reliably and equitably use the test scores included in a student’s application. When faced with tens of thousands of potential applicants, the temptation to immediately toss out a candidate based on a low test score is too great.

UT requiring test scores again proves this seems to be the direction most schools are moving in. Hopefully, however, Texas State will stand against this movement and continue to serve its disadvantaged applicants in the best way possible.

A school’s ultimate focus should be on a holistic approach to admission, evaluating the student entirely and thoroughly. Though accounting for everything does mean including test scores, admissions boards need to see their applicants as more than a high or low score on an exam. Everyone, regardless of what the SAT or ACT might report, deserves a chance at an education.

-Samuel Marentes is an English junior

The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor in Chief and Opinions Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.

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