Belmont University announced that it would continue its test-optional admissions policy for the 2021-2022 admissions. Students will no longer be required to submit ACT or SAT scores for either admissions or scholarship eligibility. This, in addition to the continued acceptance of pass/fail grades.
Their admissions team determined that the COVID-19 pandemic presented significant challenges for students applying to the university. The university issued the update earlier this week, shortly after announcing that its new president would be Dr. Gregory L. Jones. Belmont Associate Provost and Dean of Enrollment Service Dr. Chris Gage explained that they’d decided to shift their priority focus onto student qualities and backgrounds rather than traditional testing standards for admissions.
“We want to ensure equity in our admission process by acknowledging the unique skills and talents of every student interested in a Belmont education,” stated Gage. “Students are more than a test score, and our holistic review process guarantees all students receive equal consideration for admission and merit scholarships regardless if they are a test submitter.”
The Tennessee Star inquired with the university about their standard for weighing the applications of students who do submit test scores compared to those who don’t, and how the various admissions criteria measure to one another. Gage would only inform The Star that they were committed to “honor[ing] student achievement holistically” so that the university offered a “fair and inclusive application review process regardless of application method.”
Gage also told The Star that the pandemic has made testing “difficult if not impossible for many students to achieve,” and clarified that they would continue to consider the test-optional criteria for all future admissions.
On a page devoted to the updated test-optional admissions criteria, the university stated that applications won’t be viewed differently, just “holistically.” It is unclear how the presence or absence of test scores would be considered in conjunction with the required components of an application: a student’s admissions essay, activities, high school transcript, and school counselor recommendation.
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