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University of Chicago Makes SAT, ACT Optional for Applicants

Image: University of Chicago Makes SAT, ACT Optional for Applicants

The University of Chicago no longer requires SAT or ACT scores for applicants. (Jannis Werner/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 14 June 2018 05:01 PM

The University of Chicago made the SAT or ACT college entrance exam optional for applicants, the school announced Thursday, making it the first elite university to make the move.

The change aims to make the school more accessible to students from low-income and underrepresented communities, USA Today reported.

"Today, many under-resourced and underrepresented students, families and school advisers perceive top-ranked colleges as inaccessible if students do not have the means to help them stand out in the application process," James Nondorf, the university's vice president and dean of admissions, said in a statement, according to USA Today. "We want students to understand the application does not define you — you define the application."

Some smaller schools and research universities previously made the tests optional.

At the University of Chicago, the change is part of a larger UChicago Empower program that begins with the class of 2023, according to the university's website. Other elements of the initiative include expanded financial support for underserved families and public servants. It will offer full tuition scholarship for students whose families earn less than $125,000, scholarships and paid summer internships for first-generation students, and scholarships for veterans and children of veterans, police officers, and firefighters.

Inside Higher Ed called the move to eliminate the exam requirement "striking," noting that the University of Chicago received 27,694 applicants and admitted 2,419 last September.

Debate about whether testing requirements affect diversity at universities has been ongoing, with a book released in January arguing that making tests optional hasn't had positive impacts and a study released in April suggesting that adopting test-optional policies increased enrollment of minority students, Inside Higher Ed reported.

Twitter users had mixed reactions to the change.

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The SAT or ACT college entrance exam is no longer required for applicants to the University of Chicago, the school announced Thursday.
university of chicago, sat, act, optional
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2018-01-14
Thursday, 14 June 2018 05:01 PM
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