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SLU Programs Move to Test Optional for Fall 2021

May 14, 2020 

Dear members of our Saint Louis University community,    

Today, we are announcing that Saint Louis University will move to a test optional admission process for all undergraduate students. Many of our graduate programs are already test optional. Test optional for undergraduates will begin as a three-year pilot in the fall 2021. 

Under this new pilot, when students apply to SLU for the 2021-2022 academic year, it is up to them to decide whether to submit standardized test scores. Students will be evaluated equally, with or without submitted exam scores. 

This includes the ACT and SAT for freshman or transfer applicants, as well as the GRE and GMAT for most graduate programs. Due to accreditation requirements, a few graduate programs, including law and medicine, will still require pre-admission tests. And English proficiency tests will still be required for international students. 

We are mindful that the fall 2021 class is challenged by test date cancellations during the COVID-19 pandemic, making it impractical and inequitable to require scores. Our hope is that this gives prospective students and their families one less worry during this difficult time. 

Though the pandemic is certainly a catalyst for this three-year pilot, we believe this is an important change and a major opportunity to increase access to a SLU education. 

At SLU, while test scores have been requested as part of the application process, those scores have never been the sole factor in admissions decisions. As a Catholic, Jesuit university, we always look at the whole person – who the student is and what they have done outside of the classroom to serve others – as well as their academic accomplishments and test scores. Amplifying that focus on cura personalis will make our community stronger and ensure we are living our mission. 

We plan to measure our success toward the goal of further diversifying our campus over the course of the pilot. Our admissions team, faculty and academic leaders will decide how to benchmark the success of this endeavor and decide whether becoming test optional long term is a viable option for SLU. 

In the weeks and months to come, our faculty, academic leaders and admissions teams will discuss and adopt best practices, and work to ensure we have the resources in place so all Billikens can excel. This includes the opportunity this pilot gives us to revisit the tools we use to assess placement for critical courses. 

I look forward to this chance to re-envision what it means to be a student-ready University with you, our OneSLU family. 

Thank you for your partnership, 

Kathleen B. Davis
Vice President for Enrollment & Retention Management