Now Test Optional

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Beginning with the fall 2020 cohort, students applying to Dominican as incoming first-year students may choose whether they want to have standardized test scores reviewed as part of their application.

Dominican’s decision to adopt a test-optional policy came after internal discussions about the best way to evaluate incoming students. The move emphasizes that Dominican favors a holistic approach when considering any applicant for admission. This includes grades, rigor of the high school curriculum (including AP and honors classes), and involvement with extracurricular activities.

“We believe that a student’s overall high school academic record is the best indicator of a student’s future college success,” says Vickie Alleman, vice president for Enrollment and Marketing. “Our new test-optional policy allows students to determine whether or not standardized test scores accurately reflect their overall academic performance.”

Exceptions to the test-optional policy include international students who need to demonstrate English proficiency.

More than 1,000 accredited four-year colleges and universities no longer use the SAT or ACT to make admissions decisions about a substantial number of bachelor-degree applicants. For candidates who indicate they do want standardized test scores to be considered, Dominican will continue to “superscore” results by using the highest scores received on the subsections of both the SAT and ACT for each test date submitted.

A recent study found that applicants admitted without consideration of test scores graduated at equal or higher rates than those who submitted ACT/SAT results. In addition, ending SAT and ACT requirements increases the enrollment of historically underrepresented groups in almost all cases.

“We value our diversity and do not want to place any hurdles in the way of students seeking a Dominican education,” Alleman says. “There’s strong evidence that standardized tests can deter qualified low-income, first-generation, and minority students from applying to colleges.”

About 67.7 percent of Dominican’s undergraduates represent an ethnic minority, while about 33 percent are Pell eligible and 24.1 percent are first in their family to attend college. Dominican’s commitment to academic excellence and personalized education has made the University one of the top colleges among its peers for student transformation. A 2017 study published by the New York Times examining colleges as engines of upward mobility placed Dominican in the top 11 of 578 selective private colleges in the United States for social mobility. A 2018 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education survey placed Dominican in the top third of U.S. colleges and universities delivering valuable outcomes and quality education to its students.

Candidates who select test optional may upload any of the following to support their admission.

  • A graded paper completed for an academic course in the last three years of high school, including senior year.
  • A digital portfolio or online website demonstrating a talent or skill.
  • A reference letter regarding leadership activity in an organization such as civic, church, social, or high school.
  • Proof of attainment of Eagle Scout through Boy Scouts of America or Gold Award in Girl Scouts of the USA along with evidence of the type of project/issue and details regarding the implementation.

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