Following in the footsteps of top-ranked Wake Forest University, Bates College and the University of Chicago, Bucknell University will become a test-optional institution in 2020. Does test-optional mean an easier admissions process? Not necessarily. Even though standardized tests aren’t given the weight they receive at colleges and universities that require test scores, students can still opt to send in their scores to strengthen their application package and make them more competitive. In addition, with tests being optional, students have to make sure other aspects of their application package are strong and will make a lasting impression on the admissions board. What do you think about the test-optional policy? Do you think it empowers students or hinders them in the college application process?
Beginning with students applying for enrollment to the University in the Fall of 2020, standardized test scores (SAT or ACT) will become optional. However, testing will still be required for varsity athletes (to calculate the Patriot League Academic Index), home-schooled students (to provide a standardized measure given individualized transcripts), and international students (to assist with verification of credentials). This policy will be implemented on a five-year pilot basis to assess the patterns of success for non-test-submitting students compared to test-submitting students.
The University joins the likes of Wake Forest University, Bates College, and the University of Chicago in going test optional. Nevertheless, it is important to ask the question: why make this change? This move by the school may appear to be a heroic attempt at erasing the unfair advantage that arises from the persistent misunderstanding in how we evaluate intelligence, however, it may have an underlying, less amenable motive. One may assume that the University made this change due to comparable schools making similar moves, as well as efforts to increase the size of the applicant pool to lower the acceptance rate, making the school look more prestigious.