Test Optional FAQs

Having trouble registering for the ACT?  Worried the safety of the testing environment?  Not sure if the tests will even occur? Don’t stress! Drury University has gone test optional this fall and you can apply, be considered for scholarships, and ultimately enroll without taking the ACT or SAT.

Your application for admission to Drury University should represent you, your promise, and serves as a record of what you have done during your four years of high school. We take a holistic approach to your academic record; i.e. your curriculum, grades, and grade trend. Though the ACT/SAT does provide a measurement of education and knowledge, we have also moved towards test optional policies recognizing that not all students have the same access to testing and test prep. Please know that we review all information provided to us in the Office of Admission. While you might apply test-optional, if you submit or scores are on your high school transcript, those will be considered as part of our holistic review process.

Applying now without an ACT or SAT score or even with a test date scheduled, does not preclude you for submitting a score later. If your ACT score would increase your academic scholarship, we will make that adjustment prior to our Priority Deadline, so please be sure to communicate with your admission counselor! Drury is looking forward to knowing you as a person, not as a number between 1 and 36.

Why has Drury gone Test Optional?

Drury University selects students for admission in a holistic way and thus considers a number of factors in determining a student’s potential for success.  After researching how standardized test scores impact academic performance and graduation rates, we realized that a student’s academic record is the best predictor.  Furthermore, we recognize that not all students have the same access to the ACT and SAT and wanted to level the playing field for these students.

How do I apply Test Optional?

On the Drury Application for Admission, you will be able to pick from three Admission Pathways: Submit ACT/SAT test scores, Submit an Essay/Writing Sample, or Admissions Interview. 

Our two test optional options are Essay/Writing Sample, or Admissions Interview.

If you select Essay/Writing Sample, this will ensure any ACT or SAT scores we receive (directly from ACT or College Board, or from your Transcript) will be embargoed until after you have enrolled at Drury.  You will be prompted to send an essay/writing sample to Drury.  We accept any of the Common Application First-year essay prompts.  This essay will be scored on a 1-36 scale and this score will be considered for both admission and academic scholarship purposes.

How do I know if I should apply Test Optional?

You will have the option to have an Admission Counselor contact you with more information while completing the application (Select “Unsure” from the option list).  The choice is yours, but we want you to feel comfortable with the choice. 

Some students apply Test Optional because they want to apply before they take a test this fall. Others prefer a graded essay over a standardized test and others still think the ACT or SAT gives them the best chance at a top scholarship. 

Whatever your reasoning, Drury will support your decision and if you change your mind after you take an ACT or SAT, you can submit those scores for scholarship purposes, as long as it is received by the appropriate Priority Financial Aid Deadline.  It may or may not increase your scholarship, so feel free to reach out to your Admission Counselor to ask what would be appropriate for your academic profile.

Will Test Optional admission impact my academic scholarship award?

Test optional admits will also be considered for academic scholarships.  We will score your essay on a 1-36 scale based up on rubric determined by our faculty.  We will use this score in determining your award.  If at a later time you want to submit your scores for scholarship purposes, you may elect to do so. We will award whichever scholarship is higher as determined by your essay score or your ACT/SAT score.

Can I change my mind later in the process?

Yes, you can change from test-optional to test-required after the admission decision has been made for scholarship purposes.  If you were not admitted as a test-optional applicant, chances are pretty strong that submitting a test score will not change the decision; however, you always have the opportunity to appeal an admissions decision with more data and a test score could be one component as a part of your appeal.

Can I be homeschooled and still apply Test Optional?

Homeschooled students are highly encouraged to submit an ACT or SAT score.  If there is a barrier to taking the ACT or SAT, reach out to your Admission Counselor.  If a homeschooled student intends to apply with an essay/writing sample rather than a test score, Drury may also require an Admission Interview to be considered for admission.

How will my application be considered if I apply Test Optional?

Your application will receive the same scrutiny and review as an application with a test score.  The same level of emphasis will be placed on your academic record—i.e. your curriculum, grades and grade trend—and we will continue to value your ability to make a difference on campus through curricular and extracurricular activities.  After you admissions counselor has made the first review and a recommendation is made, it will be passed along to the admission committee for final review.  This is the same process regardless of the application you apply with (Drury or Common Application) or the test score option you choose (submitted score vs. test optional).

I’m an international student, can I apply Test Optional?

Let’s call Drury’s approach test flexible for international students.  We accept TOEFL, IELTS, SAKAE, iTEP, and Duolingo scores if you are from a country where English is not the primary language.  Students from countries where English is the primary language, may apply test optional.

Will I be at a disadvantage if I apply Test Optional?

Absolutely not.  Your application will receive the same scrutiny and review as an application with a test score.  The same level of emphasis will be placed on your academic record—i.e. your curriculum, grades and grade trend—and we will continue to value your ability to make a difference on campus through curricular and extracurricular activities.  

Are there any academic programs that require an ACT or SAT test score?

3 of the 5 medical schools in the Pre-Med Scholars program require an ACT score and the Drury Honors program also requires an ACT score.

Why do I have to write an essay if I choose Test Optional?

In lieu of the ACT or SAT score other applicants are submitted, we are requesting another data point to consider in reviewing your application.  We determined a written response to be the appropriate additional material needed to holistically review your application.

What are the essay options?

Drury accepts any of the Common Application prompts.  The last option listed includes a topic of the applicant’s choice, which includes being able to send a writing sample. We recommend the submission essay/writing sample be between 250-500 words.

Please submit your completed essay/writing sample as a PDF file to