OXFORD, Ohio — Students hoping to gain admission to Miami University won't have to sit either of the standardized tests typically required for college admissions, at least until the spring of 2026, according to a press release from MU.
Miami University will be "test optional" for first-year and transfer students during that time. It's an extension of a policy implemented in the fall of 2021, after the COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions in education and testing capabilities; during the pandemic, the University of Cincinnati also suspended testing requirements.
The policy will stick around a little longer at Miami University because since the pandemic, while applications to the school have increased 24.7%, students' average GPAs have remained strong, the university said.
"Since Miami has been test optional, about 50% of our applicants have asked us to use an ACT or SAT score in our evaluation of their application," said Bethany Perkins, Miami University director of admission, in a press release. "We continue to enroll extremely accomplished students and the academic profile of each new class continues to be among the best of all Ohio public universities."
The university will instead evaluate applicants on grades, GPA, strength of their school's curriculum, application essays, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, talent and personal background, in addition to other factors, MU said.
Applications will be evaluated to determine whether prospective students are prepared for the university's academic courses and how the applicant might contribute to their program, the university said.
"A test score has never been the only factor Miami's admission committee considers in application evaluation and it certainly isn't the most important factor," said Perkins. "There are much better predictors of college success such as the strength of a student's curriculum and achievements in high school courses."
The temporary extension of the test optional policy will allow Miami University to evaluate the outcomes and determine if, in the future, the policy should become permanent, the university said.
The University of Cincinnati implemented its test optional policy in the spring of 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the university also announced it extended the rule, which will continue for applicants into the fall of 2024, according to UC's website.
“So many of the students we are talking to in their junior year [of high school] are stressing out because they are not able to take the ACT or SAT in the time they normally would have due to COVID-19,” said Jack Miner, UC's vice provost for enrollment management, in 2020.
Xavier University adopted the policy earliest, striking the ACT and SAT requirements for applications before the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2019.
“One single item does not determine admissibility, and a test-optional policy allows students to demonstrate their abilities in other ways,” said Aaron Meis, Xavier’s vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success, in 2019.
Other colleges and universities throughout the nation have also adopted test optional policies, ditching the ACT and SAT tests as requirements for application or entry into the schools; Cornell, Harvard, New York University and many others have been operating with this policy for years.