The Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J., president of Creighton University, made the announcement in his annual convocation address that Creighton is officially becoming a test-optional institution beginning in the 2020 enrollment cycle.
The goal is to make Creighton more reachable and give equal opportunity to all students who apply.
“I want us to provide greater access to less-advantaged candidates,” Hendrickson said. “However, we will continue to encourage students to take standardized tests like the ACT and SAT. We will also require standardized testing for international students, NCAA athletes, home-schooled and nursing students.”
Sarah Richardson, Assistant Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Director of Admissions and Scholarships, said that she is pleased with this new change.
The reason behind this adjustment, according to Richardson, was the need to align Creighton’s admissions with its Jesuit values.
“As a Catholic, Jesuit University, we strive to ensure we are considering the whole person and not too heavily weighing one factor over another,” Richardson said. “This change allows us to ensure that we give students the option to waive the standardized test requirement, which has been shown to have bias toward students who come from underrepresented and low-income backgrounds.”
She said she also sees this decision as a stress-reliever for candidates applying for college.
“Putting this decision in the student’s hands should help to alleviate some of the pressure performing on the test can create.”
Misunderstanding of what this modification means is what Richardson says she wants to avoid. She said that some common misconceptions from the general public associate “test-optional” with “watering down expectations of students.” Others may think they’re not eligible for scholarships if they don’t provide these test scores.
“Neither of those situations are true,” Richardson said. “Our process has always been holistic and comprehensive. Our intention is to continue to hold the same high expectations of students in our review process. Whether a student decides to apply test-optional or not will have no bearing on their ability to be considered for merit scholarships.”
She stressed the fact that Creighton always evaluates candidates comprehensively, and the University has never relied solely on one specific aspect.
“This change will simply allow the student to determine how best to represent their skills and college readiness.”