CSB/SJU adopts test-optional admission policy

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May 6, 2020

classroomThe College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University will adopt a test-optional undergraduate admission policy beginning with students applying for fall 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancelation of upcoming ACT and SAT dates with no assurance of the availability of future test dates. Because of this, several colleges across the country have announced they will be test-optional for the class of 2021, meaning the ACT or SAT will not be required for admission.

The reliance on standardized tests for college admission decisions has been the subject of much discussion across the country for the last several years. The CSB/SJU Admission Office believes it is time to join the growing list of colleges that have permanently moved to a test-optional application. Because of the colleges’ holistic review of applications and after extensive research and campus-wide discussions, the enrollment management team is confident that it can effectively enact this process and recruit a well-qualified applicant pool.

“We join numerous other colleges that believe placing a high value on a standardized test as part of the admission process may disproportionately affect students of color, first-generation college students and students who come from lower-income households,” said Nate Dehne, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing at CSB/SJU.

“CSB/SJU have always completed a holistic and thorough review of our admission applications,” Dehne said. “In addition to academic performance, we look carefully at life experiences, community engagement and leadership qualities.”

That holistic approach to admission will continue, said Karen Backes, Dean of Admission.

“We have always carefully and individually reviewed each application in our decision-making process and given significantly more weight to a student’s academic achievement and curriculum than to a standardized test score. That will continue to be the case under the new policy,” Backes said. “We have never required a specific GPA or test score for admission.”

There will be exceptions to the test-optional policy. Those exceptions include students who have been home-schooled or attended non-grade-based schools; international students who need to demonstrate English language proficiency; and those who apply for the Nursing Early Admission Program.