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Sep 17, 2015 03:58 PM EDT

Rivier University To Offer Admission Without SAT, ACT Tests


Rivier University in New Hampshire announced Tuesday that it will no longer require test scores for admissions to most of its programs, joining the growing list of colleges to become SAT/ACT Test optional.

After years of requiring standardized scores for admission, the Catholic liberal arts school announced last week that it has decided to embrace the emerging policy beginning with students enrolling in the Spring of 2016, Inside Higher Ed reported.

"The shift to a test-optional policy allows us to apply a more holistic approach to the admissions process," Sister Paula Marie Buley said in a statement. "This decision supports the University's mission to acknowledge, respect, and educate the whole person and to increase opportunities for educational enrichment."

Research conducted by College Board, the nonprofit organization that administers the SAT and Advanced Placement exams, has found that SAT scores are highly correlated to socio-economic status. According to The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, test-optional policies "promote both equity and excellence" in college admissions. The Center maintains that the emphasis placed on standardized test scores deters students from minority racial and ethnic groups, and students from first-generation-to-college and lower-income families from applying to colleges and universities. The new policy also benefits good students whose low SAT/ACT test scores can prohibit college acceptance. 

"Removing the SAT/ACT application requirement makes our admissions policy more inclusive," Karen Schedin, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Rivier University, said in a statement. "We consider high school academic performance, the most reliable indicator of college preparedness, as well as the student's extracurricular activities, volunteerism and employment. Adopting the test-optional policy will offer admission to a more diverse population of qualified students."

The test-optional policy applies to all majors except nursing, a profession that demands standardized testing proficiency to meet professional licensing requirements. All students do have the option to submit test scores as part of their application.

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