MSU, UM system adopt test-optional policies for freshman admissions
Missouri's largest public institutions of higher education announced policy changes or pilot programs Wednesday aimed at streamlining the admissions process for incoming freshmen.
Springfield-based Missouri State will now accept "superscores" on the ACT or SAT, which allow students to submit the top score for each section to create a new average.
The university also adopted a test-optional policy for students who have a high school GPA of 3.25 or higher.
“It’s our goal to make Missouri State as open and accessible as possible for anyone who wants to pursue a college degree,” said MSU President Clif Smart, in a news release. “We expect this policy change will help move the needle in that direction.”
According to MSU, more than 800 national four-year public and private institutions have added test-optional admission options for students who have thrived in their high school curriculum. Another 400 universities added the option due to COVID-19 and cancellation of spring and summer ACT and SAT exams.
Applicants who meet the GPA threshold will not be required to take a standardized test for admission, a move supported by the university's public affairs mission.
The University of Missouri System announced a pilot program Wednesday to also make standardized testing optional for first-time undergraduate applicants for the 2021-22 year.
“We recognize COVID-19 and the limited accessibility and availability of standardized tests nationwide present stress and challenges for applicants. This temporary policy will eliminate a hurdle created by the pandemic,” said UM System President and MU Chancellor Mun Choi, in a news release. “Applications will still be thoroughly reviewed and must meet our institutional standards for academic excellence.”
The change, described as temporary, will allow students to submit ACT or SAT scores but applicants who choose not to submit scores will not be penalized.
According to the UM system, applications will be reviewed based on GPA, class rank, academic course load, rigor of coursework, extracurricular and leadership activities, letters of recommendation and personal essays. Each UM institution will set its own standards for minimum GPA.
“This pilot program will allow greater flexibility for student applicants in a way that keeps our universities competitive without sacrificing standards,” said Steve Graham, senior associate vice president for academic affairs, in the release. “It will also provide meaningful data to our universities to consider in regards to our formal admissions policy in the future."
In the past year, Drury University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City announced they will no longer require ACT or SAT scores as part of the admissions process.