OSU to Allow Applicants Option to Provide Standardized Admissions Test Results

To: OSU faculty, staff and students

From: Edward Feser, Provost and Executive Vice President

March 25, 2020

Dear OSU faculty, staff and students,

President Ed Ray and I are pleased to announce that Oregon State University will no longer require that undergraduate applicants submit standardized test scores – the ACT or SAT – for freshman admission consideration.

This policy is effective for fall term 2021 and will allow students applying for admission the option of determining whether a standardized test score is reflective of their academic accomplishments and ability.

The university is implementing this change following broad consultation with university leaders and stakeholders, including OSU’s Board of Trustees, student leaders, alumni, and the Faculty Senate, which voted 70-1 in favor of this change on Feb. 13, 2020.

Across the nation, more than 1,000 four-year universities and colleges, including almost 400 top-tier four-year universities and colleges, have either abandoned standardized testing altogether or now provide students the option to take such tests.

Going to test-optional admissions is consistent with OSU’s values as a land grant research university that is committed to inclusive excellence. Research conducted nationally for many years has demonstrated that standardized admissions are very limited in predicting a students’ academic performance in college. As well, research shows that standardized tests results might not be inclusive.

The university’s decision follows extensive review of standardized testing and its reliability in undergraduate admissions. The leadership of Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Jon Boeckenstedt was instrumental in advancing this work. Vice Provost Boeckenstedt’s thorough white paper detailing the rationale behind test optional admissions helped guide the university’s deliberations.

In addition, today OSU joined all of Oregon’s public comprehensive universities and Oregon Health & Science University in announcing that, starting with fall term 2021 admissions, no Oregon public university will require freshman applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores to be considered for admission.

Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Southern Oregon University, Western Oregon University, and OHSU – for applicants applying to undergraduate nursing programs – had previously allowed students the option of not submitting test results. Oregon State University, Portland State University and the University of Oregon officially joined the other five Oregon institutions today.

More information on OSU’s test-optional admissions practices can be found on the university’s Admission Office website.

At a time filled with so much uncertainty in America and around the world, we are hopeful that OSU’s decision to allow undergraduate applicants the option of submitting standardized test results will serve as some relief for students and families as the nation and world battles the risk and spread of COVID-19.

President Ray and I assure all members of the university community – and prospective students and their families – that Oregon State University will continue to examine everything it does to ensure that OSU best serves students’ educational goals and provides maximum opportunity for all students to succeed.


Edward Feser
Provost and Executive Vice President