May 26, 2020

West Chester University is Intentional about Helping Students amid Pandemic: SAT & ACT Made Optional for Students Applying for Fall 2021

Philips Memorial In a continued effort to minimize the stress of today’s reality for students, submitting SAT and/or ACT scores will be an optional, not required, part of the admissions process for students applying to attend West Chester University in the fall of 2021. This one-year change to the admissions process is being made by the University in direct response to the cancellation of all spring testing dates across the nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The University understands that the current environment has made it especially difficult for students to take or retake standardized tests. The one-year admissions amendment will be reevaluated following the enrolling of the Class of 2021.

“Today’s high school juniors are facing the added burden of applying to college amidst a metamorphosis that has turned daily living upside down in all corners of the world,” said Deputy Provost Jeffery Osgood. “WCU has a strong reputation for making decisions that are in the best interest of students, first and foremost. It is in this context that we are implementing a temporary policy that will lessen students’ anxieties and allow them to focus on demonstrating their academic achievements, so they can be considered and welcomed to the University as Golden Rams.”

If they choose, students continue to have the option to submit test scores, but will not be penalized for not doing so.

“Students will not be disadvantaged in any way for declining to submit test scores,” said Sarah Freed, assistant vice president of admissions. “We hope that this will mitigate some of the extraordinary challenges facing students and their families. As the University uses a more holistic approach to the application process, it is important to know that test scores have always been just one part of the consideration process for admittance to West Chester University.”

West Chester University is intentional in its efforts to help students be successful amidst a global pandemic. For the 2020 spring semester, the University implemented a temporary COVID-19 Alternative Grading Policy designed to reduce student stress and infuse a sense of relief. One week following the posting of grades for the semester, WCU’s temporary policy allowed undergraduate and graduate students the flexibility to select a credit or no credit option for the spring 2020 semester. With only 21% of WCU undergraduate students selecting the Alternative Grading Policy and only 7% of WCU graduate students selecting the Policy, students’ grades improved over last spring. WCU undergraduates saw a 7% increase in A’s earned this spring semester and approximately 75% of the University’s graduate students earned A’s.

“The Alternative Grading Policy turned out to be more of a mental health tool that alleviated the high stress of COVID-19. Our students’ excellent outcomes are showing us that the policy itself wasn’t needed necessarily, because our students performed just as well if not better than they did last year at this same time. Our students needed peace of mind and we are so pleased that we were able to give that to them at a time when they needed it the most.”


Back to top of page.