By Jamie Leary

DENVER (CBS4)– The University of Denver announced Tuesday it would switch to a “test-optional” admissions process. This means for 2020 prospective students who don’t want to take the SAT or ACT, they don’t have to.

“Oftentimes an ACT or SAT score is more reflective of a student’s economic background and the resources of their school, rather than demonstrating the student’s academic abilities and college preparedness,” said Todd Rinehart, vice chancellor for enrollment. “We want to place our focus on curriculum and performance in school, and provide students the choice as to how their academic record is presented.”

(credit: CBS)

There are more than 1,000 universities and colleges across the nation with a “flexible testing option” according to DU.

Denver’s own Metro State University currently has one of the most liberal admissions requirements out of any college or university in the state.

Vaughn Toland (credit: CBS)

“We have what’s called modified open admissions requirements, which means any student who is 20-years of age or older, they’re guaranteed admission to the university if they have a GED or high school diploma. So for those students we don’t even consider test scores as part of that process,” aaid Vaughn Toland, Executive Director of Admissions and Outreach at Metro State University of Denver.

For those first-year students under 20, the admissions process at MSU Denver does require the SAT or ACT but more weight is put on the student’s cumulative GPA.

(credit: CBS)

“That’s a whole body of work over their entire time in HS as opposed to a standardized test- something they just took one day for several hours.”

Toland says he has noticed more universities and colleges starting to switch to the “test-optional” admissions process.

(credit: CBS)

“I think it can be a benefit for a lot of students because many students have a lot of test anxiety. It’s a lot of pressure for students a lot of students who don’t have access to test prep resources that some of the other students have access to,” said Toland.

Juan Arellano Ramirez is a Freshman at MSU Denver. He is the first one to go to college in his family, took AP classes in high school and graduated with a 3.8 GPA. The problem? Ramirez didn’t score very high on the SAT. He has serious test anxiety.

Juan Arellano Ramirez (credit: CBS)

“I guess the pressure, because you’re timed. So it’s really hard to read question by question, you have like a minute per question too.” said Ramirez.

Not only was Rameriz stressed during the test, he also felt under-prepared. He couldn’t afford any of the test prep materials.

(credit: CBS)

“I just like, practiced on different sites on the internet that only gave you like 10 questions. Nothing similar to what the test was gonna be like.”

This is something that MSU Denver factors into its admission and something the University of Denver is aiming to eliminate by giving students the option.

Like MSU Denver, DU says studies show that high school grades are the best predictor of first-year college performance, and that standardized test scores have a low correlation with persistence and graduation.

(credit: CBS)

“As we continue to strive toward a more diverse class of students, we expect that this decision will allow us to be more inclusive of low-income and first-generation students, as well as those with different learning styles and talents,” Rinehart said.

Despite the roadblocks for Rameriz, he is doing great. The freshman is studying criminal justice and criminology. He hopes to minor in education and bilingual studies.

Jamie Leary

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