In the spring of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SAT and ACT exams were cancelled across the country, including for Colorado’s high school juniors. To address this issue, the General Assembly passed legislation that temporarily allows Colorado public institutions of higher education to determine whether to require national assessment test scores for admission for first-time first-year students who graduate from high school in 2021. The temporary allowance, as well as existing exceptions to the state mandated admission standards, allow FLC to go entirely test optional for all students for the coming year.
“For admission for the coming year we will be test optional at Fort Lewis College and students will not be required to submit scores for admission or for merit scholarship consideration,” says Jess Savage, director of Admission. “In addition to high school graduates the law applies to, we feel extending the same relief to all students is the right thing to do.”
Going test optional will ease any unnecessary burden on students during the pandemic by relieving them of the stress of rescheduling a test in time for them to apply to FLC.
“We’re grateful for the leadership at the state level for students who were impacted by COVID-19,” says President Tom Stritikus.
In addition to taking care of students in light of COVID-19, the law bolsters FLC efforts to look beyond test scores when reviewing students for admission. The College has relied heavily on SAT or ACT test scores in the admission process for years, but has recently introduced a holistic review method to assess students who’s test scores would have otherwise made them inadmissible.
“I think it’s absolutely the right move for FLC and for Colorado to drop SAT or ACT scores as part of the admission requirements, not only because at this point in time so many students have been impacted by COVID-19 and unable to access tests, but also because SATs and ACTs are not good predictors of college success,” says Savage.
Savage explained there is much more institutions of higher education can consider to understand if a student is prepared to be academically successful in college. A close look at a student’s high school transcript, their completion of the state Higher Education Academic Recommend (HEAR) courses, and understanding the context of their education, as well as what circumstances were present in their life provide a much better sense of whether that student will succeed.
Applicants will have the option to submit SAT and/or ACT scores with their college applications, but the scores will not be weighted heavily in the review process. Applicants who choose not to submit a test score for admission will not be negatively impacted.
“Students are welcome to send ACT or SAT scores as they may be helpful for placement purposes,” says Savage. “For example, if a student meets a minimum score on a standardized test subject, they may not need to take a placement exam for class registration. But a student should know that their test scores are not going to make or break their chance of admission.”
The 2021 application for admission will open on September 1. To learn more about applying to Fort Lewis College visit www.fortlewis.edu/admission.