Submitting an ACT or SAT score will be optional for students applying to Gustavus Adolphus College. Gustavus is the first Phi Beta Kappa college in Minnesota to do so.
Vice President for Admission and Student Financial Assistance Mark Anderson says, “Making standardized college-entrance exams optional will better serve prospective students and their families by evaluating each student on overall achievement and not a one-day exam.”
“The mission of this college has always been to provide a liberal arts education to students of high aspiration and promise,” says Gustavus President James Peterson. “This is a continuation of our founding philosophy.”
This new approach places emphasis on college-preparatory coursework and initiative, as well as involvement, leadership, and service.
“We look for students who have prepared themselves for the rigorous challenges of the academic program at Gustavus. Test scores — low or high — are not always accurate in predicting a student’s academic success,” says Anderson, who has directed the college’s admission office for more than 20 years.
Before making this decision, admission staff and administrators researched how this change has impacted similar colleges including Bates, Bowdoin, Franklin and Marshall, Holy Cross, Mount Holyoke, and Lawrence. Research compiled by Bates College, which has been test-optional for 20 years, shows negligible difference in student performance or graduation rates between those who submitted scores during the admission process and those who did not.
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