St. Olaf College | News

St. Olaf goes test-optional for admissions

St. Olaf College will no longer require prospective students to submit results from the SAT or ACT as part of the admissions process, joining a growing number of leading colleges and universities across the country to go “test-optional.” 

“St. Olaf employs a holistic application review process, and each student deserves and receives consideration on a number of attributes, traits, and characteristics. As we employ a test-optional process for the Class of 2025 and beyond, we are affirming this commitment,” says St. Olaf Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Chris George ’94.

The use of standardized tests in the admissions process has been the subject of vigorous debate for many years. Currently more than 1,000 colleges and universities do not require applicants to submit standardized test results, including over half of the “Top 100” liberal arts colleges in the nation.

St. Olaf began a set of serious conversations about dropping the requirement that students submit results from the SAT or ACT tests last fall. Staff members carefully reviewed a number of factors in the admissions process and determined that standardized test scores don’t improve the college’s ability to predict student success or retention.

Beginning with Class of 2025 — the students who would arrive on campus in the fall of 2021 — applicants will no longer need to submit standardized test scores from the SAT or ACT. St. Olaf’s decision to become a test-optional school will have the added benefit of reducing some of the anxiety for current high school juniors and sophomores who are conducting their college search in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Switching to test-optional aligns with our commitment to equity and inclusion and aligns with our holistic review process,” George says. “I couldn’t be more excited about going test-optional.”