GW Is Now SAT and ACT Optional


This year’s applicants to GW will not be required to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of their application. GW is now one of over 100 colleges and universities across the United States that do not require standardized exams to be submitted.

GW hopes to attract more students with high grade point averages in high school that were previously dissuaded from applying due to underwhelming test scores, something Dean of Admissions Karen Stroud Felton believes will increase the application base of GW. By enacting this policy, GW seeks to increase the “holistic nature” of the admissions process, a term used to describe a common applications technique where grades are not the sole focus of one’s acceptance or rejection.

Proponents of the policy note that deciding an applicant’s fate based on a three hour test diminishes the high school achievements of individuals. However, representatives from the College Board, the organization behind the SAT, still support its use in the college admissions process as a comparative tool to counteract grade inflation around the nation.

According to the College Board and ACT over 3.2 million people took the SAT and ACT as a part of the college admissions process last year. The number of SAT takers has been steadily decreasing over the past decade as the ACT has gained acceptance and popularity. The number of ACT takers surpassed SAT takers for the first time in last year’s admissions cycle by less than 2000 students.

Scores of schools entered the push against test scores through two different policies: test optional, or, not requiring any standardized tests for admission, or, test flexible, requiring either the SAT, ACT or SAT subject tests. GW uses the test optional policy.

GW students have maintained a similar average test score profile over the past few freshman classes, maintaining around a 1950 or 29 on the SATs and ACTs, respectively.

The true impact of the test optional policy on competitive schools like GW will likely not being to be recognized until the coming years. Changes, if any, would begin to manifest in the number of applicants and acceptance rate at GW, possibly leading to other schools adopting similar policies if it is successful.


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