Ashleigh Crouch, Correspondent
Jacksonville State University announced in a press release on Nov. 17 that they will be waiving ACT and SAT test score requirements for incoming freshmen through fall 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead of awarding scholarships based on ACT and SAT scores, incoming freshmen without standardized test scores will be awarded merit based scholarships on their high school GPA alone.
According to JSU research, a student’s high school is the “strongest predictor of academic success.”
“JSU aims to be as friendly as possible, while also ensuring students’ success in college is supported,” said Lauren Findley, JSU’s director of undergraduate admissions. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty for testing, and we felt that, based on JSU historical data and trends in higher education, it was in the best interest of our potential students to adopt a test optional policy.”
The university is advising students that do have ACT and SAT scores to submit them, as those who have standardized test scores may receive higher scholarships. Those without scores or with low scores will not be penalized, according to the university, but having a test score on file can be helpful when seeking admissions to specific programs, like education and nursing.
Despite changing its testing policy, JSU officials anticipate academic student profiles will remain similar to previous years when testing has been required.
In fall 2019 when testing was required the average GPA for incoming freshman was 3.51 whereas in fall 2020, when testing was optional, the average GPA for incoming freshman was actually higher at 3.54, according to JSU.
Accepted students may resubmit their test scores and GPA through May 1, 2021. Students may also resubmit their test scores and GPA for competitive scholarships, but the application deadlines vary.
The JaxApp, which fills out over 250 scholarships in one application, is due Feb. 1, 2021. The deadline for JSU Honors applications is Jan. 8, 2021 and JSU Leadership applications are due Feb. 1, 2021.