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Standardized Tests Become Optional for Admission to College of Liberal Arts

Duquesne University's McAnulty College of Liberal Arts has joined the growing number of schools nationally that have made standardized tests optional for admission. 

Starting with the Fall 2015 freshman class, liberal arts applicants will not be required to submit SAT or ACT test scores, the Enrollment Management Group has announced. Approximately 10-20 percent of the incoming liberal arts freshman class are estimated to enroll under this option.

"An important part of our job is to work with our academic partners to make sure we are providing appropriate access and choice to all academically competitive students," said Paul-James Cukanna, associate provost for enrollment management. "Across the spectrum, in all geographic and socioeconomic areas, in urban, suburban and rural schools, both private and public, we have had solid applicants who are motivated and academically talented but don't perform as well as might be expected on standardized tests.

"After careful evaluation and input from senior administration, (McAnulty) Dean James Swindal and his faculty, we have revised admission requirements so that high school grades and curriculum can be the main factors considered for applicants to study within the broad fields of liberal arts."
When applying for admission, prospective students can take advantage of this new opportunity by indicating whether they would like to apply as test-optional. They must have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average, a college preparatory curriculum, extracurricular involvement and submit the required essay. Test-optional students who are admitted will be indistinguishable from other students in the college and equally eligible for scholarships.

Long-term studies by schools such as Bates College have shown no discernable difference in academic success and persistence rates between academically talented students independent of standardized test scores. Duquesne's research, evaluative and proposal process began in 2013.

"The college looks forward to offering admission to students who will benefit from a Duquesne education in the liberal arts," said Swindal.

All schools at Duquesne cannot offer test-optional admission, Cukanna said, because standardized tests are intrinsic to professional licensure in careers such as education, health sciences, nursing and pharmacy.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.