KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Before heading off to college, as many Missouri students are this week, most high school seniors will take the ACT or SAT.
But, standardized tests may soon be a thing of the past.
Rockhurst University is joining a growing list of colleges moving to a “test optional” admissions policy, meaning applicants can choose if they want to submit ACT or SAT scores.
Rockhurst University says they want to get to know applicants beyond a single number.
More than 1,000 four-year colleges and universities are adopting the test-optional policy. Most of the schools to make the switch are smaller, private schools, but recently Creighton University and the University of Chicago announced they would also no longer consider test scores.
Rockhurst University puts the policy in place next year, for the class of 2024. School leaders say they want to expand the focus of vetting applicants to see if the student is a good fit for the college. Students can submit their score if they believe it will help their chances of being accepted.
Rockhurst University Director of Admissions Micaela Lenhart says the policy does not change how competitive the process is or how rigorous the undergrad coursework will be. She hopes to attract students who may not have thought college was not an option before.
“We want them to find the way that they’re going to shine. Is that through their GPA? Is that through their service, their activities, their involvement? We want the student to advocate for themselves and find the way that they shine and they want to display themselves to the university," she said.
Students applying to Rockhurst University's specialized programs, like physical therapy and nursing, may still be asked to submit an act or sat score.
Registration for the ACT and SAT costs around $50. Study materials and test prep courses are not included. There are additional fees for late registration and the writing portion of the ACT. Last year, Missouri stopped offering the test for free to high school juniors.
Rockhurst University admissions will place more emphasis on potential students’ grades in core classes, letters of recommendation and personal statements.
Critics of the “test optional” policy say this takes away part of the checks and balances in the admissions process and schools should be focusing on objectivity in the wake of the college admissions scandal.
Rockhurst University says their decision was based on fairness. Lenhart said the policy will help students who didn’t have the advantage of going to a private school or a school with test prep built into the curriculum.
“You’re looking at a couple thousand dollars by the time somebody invests in the courses taking the ACT multiple times,” Lenhart said. “Not every student, not every family can afford that but there are students who are able to show that grit and that perseverance that they can be successful at a college or an institution.”