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News / Northwest

University of Puget Sound skips SATs, ACTs

The Columbian
Published: June 16, 2015, 12:00am

Put away your study guides, college applicants — the University of Puget Sound doesn’t care how you do on the SAT or ACT.

The Tacoma university has joined a small number of Washington colleges, and a growing list of colleges nationally, that don’t require undergraduate applicants to submit standardized test scores when submitting an application for admission.

The reason? UPS has found that grade-point averages are much more predictive of how a student will do in college than a score on a test.

In Washington, the public universities that have already dropped the testing requirement are Washington State University, Central Washington University and Eastern Washington University.

Among private colleges in the state, Whitworth and Heritage universities do not require standardized tests for freshmen.

The new policy at the University of Puget Sound applies to students submitting applications for the 2016-17 school year. Students will instead be asked to write 100-word essays responding to two short questions. One of the questions is about a personal goal, and the other is about a community with which they identify.

The university says the questions are designed to identify noncognitive characteristics that also have proved to be strong predictors of success in college.

Jenny Rickard, vice president for enrollment at UPS, said the change was made because some students don’t do well on standardized tests, yet have the motivation and resilience to excel. By dropping the standardized testing requirement, the university hopes to broaden its applicant pool.