March 17, 2017

Worcester State going 'test optional' for applicants

Worcester State's campus. The school has gone "test optional" for applicants.

Worcester State University has joined a growing number of colleges making SAT and ACT scores optional for student applicants, with the change going into effect for the fall of 2018.

The university now requires students submit either an SAT or ACT score, and those who don't aren't considered for admission. But the school said Friday it will make those scores optional on application materials starting with those enrolling for the 2018-2019 school year.

The university said that such scores aren't predictive of how well a student will do in college.

"Worcester State University seeks the fairest, most outcome-oriented process for admitting students," Ryan Forsythe, the university's vice president for enrollment management, said. "Our research shows that SAT or ACT scores are far down the list of factors that predict whether or not a student will succeed."

Worcester State sought input from the campus community and researched the move for several months before making the decision to change the requirement, Forsythe said. A mandatory inclusion of those scores discouraged some from applying, he added.

Some exceptions will remain in place. For example, applicants to Worcester State's nursing and occupational studies programs, two high-demand majors, must still submit SAT and ACT scores. International students, those who speak English as a second language, and those who were home-schooled must also submit those scores.

UMass Amherst still requires those scores, but UMass Boston, UMass Lowell, Brandeis University, Bridgewater State University and Salem State University, among others in Massachusetts, no longer do.

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