PLYMOUTH, N.H. – There will be one less requirement in the application packet for students applying to Plymouth State University.
The central New Hampshire university announced this week that it will no longer require applicants to submit SAT or ACT test scores beginning with students entering in Spring, 2015. Instead, Plymouth State will continue to concentrate on a student’s high school record as the primary factor in offering admission.
“Standardized test scores simply don’t provide much value for our counselors when determining an applicant’s academic preparation” said Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management Andrew Palumbo. While many schools still require standardized test scores in their application process, Palumbo says Plymouth State is “taking the opportunity to re-evaluate what is truly meaningful when we craft our incoming class.”
Plymouth State University joins a growing movement among universities and colleges nationwide by no longer basing its admissions decisions on standardized test scores.
In recent years, Plymouth State officials have looked more to high school grades, especially grades in core subject areas of English, math, science, social studies and foreign language. Still, some students find their SAT or ACT scores are a point of pride. Plymouth will continue to accept scores from applicants that choose to submit their test results. But, adds Palumbo, standardized test scores are not as accurate as an applicant’s high school career in predicting success in college for most students.
Palumbo emphasized that a “test-optional” admissions process does not mean the University is lowering admissions standards. Plymouth State, he says, is more interested in actual academic performance and the rigor of an applicant’s course selection than in the applicant’s score on a standardized test. “Plymouth is one of a small number of schools that recalculates each applicant’s high school grade point average to focus solely on the core subject areas of English, math, science, social studies and foreign language. We also give extra weight to more challenging courses.” This practice, he says, rewards critical reasoning and communication skills over the “quick decision-making skills that timed standardized tests measure.”
The University also considers each applicant’s extracurricular involvement, an admissions essay, and an academic recommendation from a high school teacher. “Plymouth State is a special institution that offers excellent academic opportunities within an engaging residential community. We owe it to our students to leave behind older methods of evaluating applicants that are no longer relevant. We are looking for a diverse group of students who will bring far more to our community than their test scores.”
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