Drury University moves to test-optional application process in response to pandemic, provide greater equity in college admission
SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 24, 2020 — Drury University will become a test-optional institution beginning with applications for the Fall 2021 academic year. Going “test optional” means scores on standardized tests such as the ACT or SAT are not required for admission.
“This move is in the best interest of students for a number of reasons, but the cancellations and postponements of ACT and SAT tests nationwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic adds new urgency and makes now the right time to make this change for future Panthers,” says Kevin Kropf, executive vice president for enrollment management at Drury.
“Drury’s admissions process has always placed a greater emphasis on a student’s academic record, which measures a body of work, than on standardized test scores,” he adds. “This change will solidify that perspective.”
In lieu of a test score, students will be asked to submit an additional 250 to 500-word essay that would be used as part of the scholarship award process.
A number of studies have shown that a college-prep curriculum and grade point average in high school are the best predictors of success in college. In particular, the move will help students from lower socio-economic backgrounds and rural areas, who tend to have fewer resources for test preparation. Last year, the state of Missouri ended funding for ACT testing statewide, which put students from rural high schools, in particular, at a disadvantage for college admission.
“About 40 percent of Drury’s traditional undergraduate students come to us from within about 40 or 50 miles of our campus,” Kropf says. “We believe going test-optional is the right move for Drury, not only in response to the COVID-19 crisis, but also to better serve our primary market in southwest and southern Missouri.”
The waiver on test scores would not apply to international students but the university is seeking to expand the number of tests those students could use as admissions criteria.
Drury is also taking a number of additional steps to help ease the application process for students and families during this time of uncertainty, including:
- Extending the candidate reply date from May 1 to June 1.
- Accepting unofficial transcripts, provisionally, with applications.
- Conducting virtual meetings with students and families about financial aid.
For more information about applying to Drury, visit: www.drury.edu/admission.