William & Mary will introduce a test-optional admission policy for the 2020-2021 application cycle, which means freshman applicants to the university will not be required to submit either SAT or ACT exam results. Additionally, it is our intention that next year will be the first year in a three-year pilot program designed to enable a more comprehensive analysis beyond a one year exception.
Our admission review process is based on a comprehensive, holistic approach that considers multiple factors in making decisions. Fundamentally, this will not change, but now will provide students with additional ownership in the process by allowing them to decide whether or not they wish for SAT/ACT scores to be included as part of their application review. We know that for many students, they will still want their standardized test scores used in the review, and we will continue to include accordingly.
However, we realize that for some students, they would prefer to have their admission review based on the other pieces of an application without including SAT/ACT scores—an option we now confidently offer. Additionally, our hope is that this will encourage those students who may have been hesitant to apply previously out of concern over the importance of SAT/ACT scores to be more confident in knowing their application can be fully reviewed without these scores.
As those students who’ll be applying for admission next year face unprecedented uncertainty and limitations in standardized test availability, it has become clear that we have the opportunity to better support students and take a step to reducing concerns by providing the flexibility of a test-optional process next year.
Moreover, while the uniqueness of this year is a contributing factor, it is not the sole driver, but has served as a means for amplifying a conversation already under way. Given that, our plan will not be to simply remove the standardized test score requirement for next year, but rather, take it as an opportunity to engage in a three-year pilot study enabling us to truly assess the impact on our process and evaluate outcomes data for students enrolling at William & Mary.
All applicants for undergraduate admission will be eligible to apply through this test-optional policy including transfer, home schooled and international students.