2020-21 Test Optional Admission Policy

June 05, 2020

For the 2020-21 admission cycle Grinnell College will adopt a test optional admission policy.

As schools closed this spring in response to the pandemic, the College Board and ACT, the companies that manage the SAT and ACT admissions tests, were forced to significantly limit in-person testing across the country. We have been especially concerned that barriers to taking the test for underrepresented students would diminish participation rates and potentially lead to a decrease in the number of domestic students of color Grinnell could admit for the class entering in the fall of 2021.

Our Admission and Student Financial Aid Committee (including faculty from each division, students, academic, and administrative leadership) met last week to consider a proposal to adopt a test optional admission policy for the upcoming admission cycle.

Grinnell receives more test results from Illinois and California than any other states and substantial disruption to testing has occurred in both of those states. A decision to retain our test requirement would have likely led to a reduction in the number of students across the country able to complete an application for admission to Grinnell.

Many of our peers have recently taken a similar approach to adopting a test optional admission policy—at least for next year—and are featured on this list and described in recent articles published by The New York Times as well as Inside Higher Ed.

Grinnell will retain (and expand options for) English language proficiency testing requirements for international students and will revisit the role of standardized testing in the admission process next spring.

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