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Davidson College keeps ACT, SAT scores optional permanently for aspiring students

The college said this allows them to look at the student as a whole when considering applications.

DAVIDSON, N.C. — During the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, different aspects of everyday life were re-examined with new perspective. For Davidson College, that included taking a hard look at admissions exams like the SAT and ACT.

The college first announced in March of 2020 that it was testing a pilot program to go test-optional as testing centers shut down. In a blog post republished that October, Davidson College dean of admission and financial aid Chris Gruber explained this created more hurdles for students applying for entry and that the pilot program "reflects our approach that, while tests provide some useful information, other aspects of an applicant's academic journey better reflect how they will perform and thrive here."

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On April 11, 2022, Gruber reaffirmed this view, announcing Davidson College was now making the pilot program a permanent policy. He said standardized tests created barriers for some students and didn't provide admissions offers the whole picture for everyone.

"What we didn’t know was the impact of test-optional on the overall class. Two years later, we have the answer: This shift allows students to present themselves fully and the caliber of our incoming classes has not only remained stable, it has increased -- in grades, life experiences and even test scores," he said.

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This doesn't mean students can't submit ACT or SAT test scores when applying; in fact, Davidson College's official admissions testing policy says students can self-report scores on their Common Application, Coalition for College Application, or QuestBridge Application, or simply scan and email them in. Official scores reported directly to the school are also accepted and verified by the college, but the policy warns discrepancies between official and self-reported scores could jeopardize a student's place at the college.

International applicants for whom English is not their first language will still need to submit results from the TOEFL or IELTS exams or from Duolingo's English Test (DET)

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