School officials at the College of New Jersey have decided to make standardized tests optional for applicants beginning with the 2020-21 admission cycle because of the challenges high school students are having scheduling tests due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The policy will be in effect for a three-year period. First-year applicants can choose whether or not to submit SAT or ACT scores to be considered for undergraduate admission to the college for that period. The policy will not apply to the college’s seven-year medical program or the optometry program.
“Given that coronavirus cancellations made timely testing impossible for hundreds of thousands of students around the country, providing flexibility with the SAT and ACT requirements seemed more than appropriate,” said TCNJ Vice President for Enrollment Management Lisa Angeloni.
The policy had been under consideration for several years already as part of ongoing efforts to promote maximum access to a TCNJ education to students of all backgrounds.
“When a college announces a test-optional policy, it also conveys to students that the college is aware of and sensitive to issues that impact low-income and underrepresented students and this awareness can signal to applicants an aware and inviting institutional culture,” Angeloni said.
School officials said TCNJ has always taken a holistic approach in evaluating each application, considering student abilities and involvement beyond academics.
“Our admissions staff members examine every component of a student’s application, but we do emphasize the high school transcript,” Angeloni said. “The record of course selection, grades, GPA, class rank, and the strength of the curriculum provides the most accurate predictor of a student’s chance for success in college.”
At the end of the three-year period, TCNJ officials will determine whether to reinstate a testing requirement for undergraduate applicants or to extend the test-optional policy.