Worcester State University students studying in the Student Center.

Worcester State Goes ‘Test Optional’ for Fall 2018 Applicants

March 17, 2017
By: Renae Lias Claffey

Because SAT and ACT test scores are not very predictive of student outcomes, Worcester State University is joining a growing number of universities going “test optional” in its undergraduate admissions process, beginning with applicants for Fall 2018.

“Worcester State University seeks the fairest, most outcome-oriented process for admitting students,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management Ryan Forsythe, Ed.D. “Our research shows that SAT or ACT scores are far down the list of factors that predict whether or not a student will succeed. We therefore have decided to consider students who do not submit those scores for admission.”

Forsythe said that several months of research and campus community input preceded the decision to change the testing requirement. “For some,” he added, “the test scores are an unnecessary barrier that discourages them from applying.”

Current practice, for those entering Fall 2017 or Spring 2018, requires that applicants submit either an SAT or ACT score. Applicants who do not provide a test result are not considered. Except for some specific programs, students applying for the Fall 2018 admission cycle will no longer be required to submit such a score. Applicants may or may not choose to do so.

Exceptions to the new policy include:

  • Applicants to the university’s high-demand nursing and occupational studies programs
  • International and English as a Second Language applicants
  • Those who were home-schooled

All of these applicants are still required to submit test scores. Further information about exceptions and advice on whether one should or should not submit scores is available via an FAQ.

Worcester State is able to offer this admission process as a result of the test-optional admission pilot offered by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

“We believe this policy will support Worcester State’s mission of providing access to a high quality, affordable education to a greater number of students,” said Admissions Director Joseph DiCarlo.

More than 50 percent of WSU’s first-year students for Fall 2016 are first-generation college students. Research indicates that there may be a test bias in favor of those from upper socio-economic backgrounds, and those whose parents are college graduates.

Worcester State University weighs several factors in considering a student for admission. Among the key considerations are high school GPA and high school transcript.

To learn more about applying to Worcester State, visit http://www.worcester.edu/Undergraduate-Admissions/.

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