OU offers test-optional admission for incoming freshmen due to COVID-19

Lauren Karmo, Campus Editor

Due to the cancellations of standardized testing in the wake of COVID-19, Oakland University has offered test-optional admission for incoming first-year students for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years. 

OU Admissions felt it was important for incoming students to have access to the same opportunities they would have otherwise, which is what moved them to temporarily change their policy.

“We knew we had to take action in order to support the incoming class of 2021,” Undergraduate Admissions Director Shane Lewis said via email. “We want to alleviate students’ concerns and remove barriers to their enrollment at Oakland University.”

The College Board, which administers the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), has postponed all testing for high school students until fall 2020 at the earliest. Many Michigan students were not able to access the state-funded opportunity for testing last spring, which, according to Lewis, put them at a disadvantage when looking to apply for colleges. 

“If institutions do not offer test optional admission, they may not be able to make offers of admission for many Michigan students until late fall,” Lewis said via email. “This places students at a disadvantage, because they will not have available to them an accurate outlook on their college options until much later into their senior year.”

Other institutions across the country and the state have made similar changes to their admissions policy. Wayne State University has recently announced they will be offering test-optional admissions, along with Western Michigan University.

Instead of test scores, OU will be considering admissions status based on an applicant’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) and the level of difficulty of their coursework, including honors, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes.

Any student who has earned a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative high school grade point average will be considered for admission,” said Dawn Aubry, associate vice president for enrollment management, via email. “Students who take the SAT or [American College Testing] ACT will still want to submit their scores to OU, as at this time we will still be using test scores for scholarship consideration and course placement. However, doing so will not impact their admission decision.”

For students who plan to apply for merit-based scholarships, OU Admissions suggested to send in an ACT or SAT score to be considered. 

“At this time, we plan to continue using SAT or ACT scores for scholarship consideration,” Lewis said via email. “This change has no effect on our institutional need-based aid awards for incoming freshmen … We are currently reviewing our need and merit award criteria for fall 2021. This information will be shared around July of this year.”

Lewis explained the policy is temporary in order to assist current high school students and help them obtain a secondary education despite current circumstances. The policy will be reviewed in the spring of 2021. 

“This modification to the test requirement is not intended as a permanent admissions policy shift but is rather a temporary accommodation driven by the current extraordinary circumstances,” Lewis said via email.