Montclair State University announced this week that it will become the first public university in New Jersey to adopt an SAT/ACT test-optional admissions policy for all undergraduate applicants. It joins more than 800 of the nation’s colleges and universities who are “test optional,” “test flexible” or otherwise de-emphasize the use of standardized tests by making admissions decisions about substantial numbers of applicants who recently graduated from U.S. high schools without using the SAT or ACT.
Effective beginning with for the fall 2015 entering freshmen class, MSU will revise its admissions protocol, placing primary emphasis on an applicant’s high school GPA combined with close attention to the specific courses taken. Submission of SAT and ACT scores will no longer be required, although the University will consider these scores should a student choose to submit them.
“As we choose each incoming class, our goal is to assure, to the greatest extent possible, that the students selected for admission are capable of succeeding in the University’s rigorous academic programs,” said Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole.
According to Dr. Cole, the University has verified that the most powerful predictor of college success is a student’s performance in high school and, in particular, the high school GPA and the rigor of the courses taken. The University has found that a student’s high school GPA is three times as powerful as the SAT for demonstrating a student’s likely performance at Montclair State, noted Dr. Cole.
“In addition to being a better predictor of academic success, we are certain that the new admissions protocol will better support our mission of serving a talented and striving student population that reflects the full socio-economic and ethnic diversity of New Jersey,” said Dr. Cole. “Focusing on an individual student’s actual accomplishments in high school, no matter which community the student grew up in or which high school he or she attended, will yield a highly diverse freshman class characterized by determination, ambition and the demonstrated willingness to strive for success in Montclair State’s academically rigorous environment.”
Dr. Cole added that it is the University’s view that standardized tests can have the undesirable effect of disadvantaging capable, striving students from middle and lower socio-economic backgrounds, many of whom do not have the benefit of costly preparation courses.