• Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

Arkansas State eliminating ACT requirement for admission


JONESBORO, Ark- Many universities temporarily eliminated the ACT requirement as part of the application process due to the coronavirus.

But for one local school, that change is becoming permanent.


Arkansas State University will join the list of other colleges across the country and become a test-optional school.


The decision to eliminate the requirement came as a suggestion from university faculty members.


“As our faculty began to study, ‘is this the best metric to admit somebody to college?’ And that’s what led the faculty to come together with this suggested change in our admission policy that will start next fall,” says Bill Smith, A-State chief communications officer.


Some who advocate for keeping the requirement say it puts every high school student in the country on the same playing field, as each student receives equal testing material given in the same environment.


However, Smith says by taking the “and” out of their admission policy and replacing it with an “or” will make the university more inclusive.


“Arkansas State University wants to evaluate its students on four years of high school, not four hours on a Saturday morning,” he says. “Some [students] have test anxiety, some, may of had a bad day, some may not be able to afford ACT prep or taking the test multiple times to get a super score.”


Over one thousand universities across the country temporarily eliminated the testing requirement in 2020 as students were unable to take the ACT or SAT due to the pandemic.


Now, the list of those making it optional continues to grow.


Prospective students can still submit their scores if they choose, as some scholarships will require it.


Smith breaks down the new admissions criteria for Arkansas State.


“If your high school has deemed you to be a 3.0 student, we should trust those teachers and that school and, you can gain unconditional admission with that,” Smith said. “Or you can get unconditional admission with a 19 or higher on your ACT. Or you can get there with a ranking of the top 25% of your graduating class. That allows for both pathways now your four years of work become a part of the metric. But also, if you’re a good test taker and that’s something you want to pursue, that can be your metric to gain unconditional admission.”


The change will go into effect in the fall of 2022.

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