Incoming freshmen at Jacksonville State University will not have to submit ACT and SAT scores with their applications through fall 2021, the university announced Tuesday.
A JSU news release stated the school will base its admissions and scholarship awards on a student’s high school grade point average to accommodate students who may have difficulty taking or retaking tests due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
School officials said they expect students’ academic profiles will remain largely the same, despite the change. Incoming freshmen in fall 2019 had an average high school GPA of 3.51 while incoming fall 2020 freshmen, for whom testing was optional, had an average GPA of 3.54.
"JSU aims to be as student friendly as possible, while also ensuring students' success in college is supported,” director of undergraduate admissions Lauren Findley was quoted as saying. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty for testing, and we felt that, based on JSU historical data and trends in higher education, it was in the best interest of our potential students to adopt a test optional policy."
Students without test scores will also be able to qualify for academic merit scholarships based on their high school GPAs. Those who already have test scores may qualify for higher scholarships, but students without scores will not be penalized.
Students who already have test scores are still encouraged to send them to the school, as they can be helpful for admission into certain academic programs or in getting a higher scholarship package.
Additionally, the release stated, the school recently started its Division for Student Success, which was established to increase student retention and graduation rates.