Greenville University has announced it will permanently continue the “test-optional” policy it instituted earlier to accommodate admissions and scholarship-award processes during the pandemic.
The University’s Inter-Scholastic Academic Affairs Committee (ISAAC) affirmed its recent decision to not require test scores for acceptance into the University or for scholarships. These include ACT and SAT scores.
“We realize that students face several barriers in the college admissions process,” says Victoria Clark, GU director of admissions. “GU wants to be a place that removes barriers so that students can experience how they were uniquely made to shape the world.”
Many institutions, including GU, adopted a test-optional policy for the 2020-21 school year due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions that made in-person testing impossible. Even before 2020, however, GU had integrated other elements such as strong character and acts of service as criteria for admissions and scholarships.
“In a post-COVID time of uncertainty, Greenville University remains firmly committed to delivery on its mission to see student lives transformed for character and service,” says Brian Hartley, GU’s chief academic officer.
He cites faculty commitment to deliver unique learning opportunities through the University’s Experience Institute. There, faculty mentors guide students through “on-the-ground” learning experiences that “inform their vocational growth and discernment.”
In 2018, the University announced its Panther Preferred Scholarship program, the first scholarship program at GU to evaluate students primarily on character, community service, and a student’s determination to succeed academically. The first cohort of Panther Preferred students enrolled in fall 2019. The University reports a high retention rate among students selected on these non-test criteria.
In a 2019 interview, Greenville University President Suzanne Davis said the University found students would actually rather be recognized for things such as acts of service.
“Whether it’s in high school, (like) the Big Brother Big Sister program, or it’s something they’ve done in their youth groups, or other service (organizations), students would rather be recognized for that in a scholarship than a score that they got on their ACT or SAT.”
As college-bound high school graduates consider their plans, Greenville University also announced it will return students to campus this fall for continued in-person classes. GU students have attended classes in person without interruption since fall 2020, thanks in part to weekly COVID-testing made possible through a partnership with the University of Illinois.
“Because we are committed to offering students quality, experiential learning in a safe environment, we have no reservations saying we’ll continue to be open for on-campus students,” Davis says.