Woodburn Circle

The sidewalk leading to Woodburn Circle. (WVU Photo/Jennifer Shephard)

Starting Aug. 1, West Virginia University will not require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission to the spring and fall 2021 semesters. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many high school students have not had the ability to take the standardized tests required for admission to WVU. George Zimmerman, WVU executive director of admissions and recruitment, said that making the submission of ACT and SAT scores optional will give prospective students an opportunity to apply and be admitted to WVU.  

“We know students are very anxious about not being able to sit for the SAT or ACT until September or October,” Zimmerman told the Daily Athenaeum. “This provides a pathway for students to start the application process.”

The ACT and SAT exams are still being held nationally. However, specific testing sites can decide whether or not to hold an exam on a certain day, depending on the area’s public health restrictions. 

“What we’re seeing is, while the exams are offered nationally, some students are getting access while others are not,” Zimmerman said. Because of this, he said making tests optional puts everyone on a level playing ground.

Students are still encouraged to take the SAT or ACT in order to qualify for most scholarships. In addition, some programs at WVU still requires standardized test scores to be considered for admission.

Zimmerman said the exams will be offered by West Virginia schools in their local counties for free in September and October. 

In some cases, in order to get into certain programs, students need to meet higher admissions standards than general admission requirements. Students who don’t meet program standards because they choose not to take the standardized tests can still be admitted into the WVU Center for Learning, Advising, and Student Success (CLASS). 

“We are anticipating that there will be more students initially entering CLASS,” Zimmerman said.”But we’re working on ways to allow them to move through faster, even in the absence of the tests.”

WVU admissions will continue to do a holistic review of student applications. They will look at a combination of GPA, test scores, and core curriculum requirements for prospective students. Students can apply to WVU without having taken the SAT or ACT, and students can submit test scores later on. 

“Regardless of whether you’re able to sit for an exam, you have the opportunity to apply to WVU on your terms and not the virus’s terms,” Zimmerman said.