Test Optional FAQ's


What is a test-optional admission policy?

A test-optional admissions policy means that applicants can choose not to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of their admission application. The rules making up these policies vary from institution to institution.

How many colleges and universities currently have test-optional admissions policies?

According to the organization, FairTest.org, as of fall 2016, over 850 four-year colleges do not use the SAT or ACT to admit substantial numbers of bachelor degree seeking applicants.

Why consider making standardized test scores optional in the Willamette admission process?

In response to Willamette University’s support of the recently published Turning the Tide report, the admission office was seeking to adopt procedures that assess ethical and intellectual engagement. By adopting a test-optional policy Willamette has decided that factors other than test scores are strong predictors of a student's potential to succeed in college including academic rigor in a college preparatory program and co-and extra- curricular activities. Research also suggests that standardized test scores are closely correlated with family income and adopting this policy will allow the University to better and more clearly capture a larger, qualified set of the (college-going) population.

Will international students be required to submit an ACT or SAT score for admission?

No. International student applicants will still be required to provide either the TOEFL or IELTS to test English proficiency, but students will not be required to submit scores.

How will Willamette University evaluate candidates for admission who do not submit results on the SAT/ACT exam?

Both internal and external research prove that performance in a rigorous college-preparatory high school program is the best predictor of academic success in college, therefore, the admission committee will continue to place the most evaluative weight on the level and success in college-preparatory courses taken. We will also require test optional applicants to respond to an essay prompt framed around the college’s mission “Not Unto Ourselves Alone Are We Born.” School Counselor, Teacher and other recommendations will be considered along with co- and extra-curricular activities.

How will Willamette University measure the effectiveness of the test-optional policy?

As an evaluative measure, Willamette University will require students who have applied under the test optional policy to submit their SAT and/or ACT scores after they have committed to attend. This information will be used to determine the effectiveness of the SAT for future enrollment application cycles. Students that enroll under the test optional policy will also be assessed based on first year retention as well as degree completion.

How does a student indicate whether they want their standardized test scores considered for admission?

On the Common Application, each applicant indicates whether they want their standardized test scores to be considered for admission under the preferred testing plan. Applicants that opt out of submitting the scores will be required to provide a written response to an additional essay question.

What if a student chooses to submit their test scores after they have opted out of providing them for review?

Once a student submits their application and states they do not want their tests reviewed for admission, they will need to submit a written request to the admission office at bearcat@willamette.edu or mailed to:

Willamette University
Attn: CLA Admission
900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301

What if a student has already submitted their test scores to Willamette University and no longer wants them to be considered?

Students who would like to retract their test scores from Willamette University must provide a written request either emailed to bearcat@willamette.edu or mailed to: Willamette University, 900 State Street, Salem, OR 97301 Attn: CLA Admission.

Will I still qualify for merit scholarships if I choose not to submit my test scores?

Yes, students who do not submit their test scores will still be considered for merit scholarships.