University of Tennessee, Knoxville to Require SAT, ACT Scores For Home-Schoolers, But Not For Public School Students Through Fall 2025

Person filling in exam answers


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) will be test-optional until fall 2025 for all applicants – unless you were home-schooled. UTK will prohibit home-schoolers from capitalizing on their test-optional policy, as well as those students from schools that didn’t use alpha or numerical grading systems. UTK said their decision reflected a commitment to equity in a press release issued on Thursday.

The test-optional policy doesn’t mean that eligible applicants get a free pass entirely from admissions. According to the UTK admissions page, applicants that don’t submit their ACT or SAT scores will be considered a “test-optional applicant” and must submit an additional essay. However, the essay has less to do with academics and more to do with character – the current prompt this year asks applicants to recount an example of their leadership in a personal essay.

“We believe Vol is a Verb [sic] and leadership is a willingness to act,” reads the prompt. “Provide an example of how you’ve demonstrated leadership to make a positive impact in your community (family, work, experience, school, community, service efforts, etc.). Describe the impact of your efforts and why it was meaningful to you.”

UTK clarified that prospective students may still submit their ACT and SAT scores, “if they believe the scores adequately reflect their academic achievements.” They added that all applicants will be considered for the Honors and Scholars programs and applicable scholarships regardless of test score submission.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that homeschooling rates tripled over the past year. 2017 research compiling the results of 14 peer-reviewed studies revealed that home-schooled students outperformed conventionally-schooled students significantly. A 2013 study comparing the mental health, moral reasoning, socialization skills, and maturity levels between home-schooled and conventionally-schooled students reported that home-schooled students surpassed their conventional peers.

The Tennessee Star inquired with UTK spokespersons why they determined that home-schooled students should submit ACT and SAT scores. UTK didn’t respond by press time.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].






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12 Thoughts to “University of Tennessee, Knoxville to Require SAT, ACT Scores For Home-Schoolers, But Not For Public School Students Through Fall 2025”

  1. Chris

    I wish UT would require test scores for all applicants as it has historically done and post those of home-schooled applicants separately from those of public school students and those of private school applicants.

    That would be some fun.

    But the reality is that UT’s academic rankings have plummeted precipitously over the last 20 or so years, so they can only drop so much further before they hit bottom.

    My wife and I are UT academic benefactors and we wish it the best.

    But inmates have been running the asylum for way too long.

    It certainly shows.

    1. Linwood Windley

      Amen! My feels as well.

  2. Truthy McTruthFace

    UTK: ‘if you havent graduated from one of the public wokeness training centers we require you to submit your papers’

  3. 83ragtop50

    “UTK said their decision reflected a commitment to equity”

    According to my dictionary the definition of equity is:
    justice according to natural law or right
    specifically : freedom from bias or favoritism

    I guess UTK has their own dictionary these days. One that denies the truth.
    I figure the homeschoolers as a whole would outperform the public schoolers as a whole. Therefore UTK is protecting the public schools for their undeniable failings.

  4. We were a home school family, in fact all four of us were in a home school program of some type. For the kids 2 yrs apart, we chose the same program (grade levels) and it worked out fabulously. The “kids” are now 24 and 26, both have 3 Associates degrees and both are working on their BSNs. Mom finished her Masters of Nursing through Excelsior University and went on to work on her PHD in Education. She is an Asst Professor at a local College. I retired from Nursing having completed several DHS emergency Medical certifications. To sum up what I’m trying to say, as my Uncle who worked the RR in Copper Hill would have said..Ain’t no test scare me none…’tal. BTW, HS kids do need socialization, find a local HS group to join.

  5. Horatio Bunce

    From the press release: “UT moved to a test-optional application process in July 2020 as testing companies and centers suspended testing during the pandemic, making it more difficult for students to submit a complete application.”

    Since even homeschoolers were locked down by Governor Lee executive orders, they also experienced the exact same testing difficulties caused by executive order shutdowns. Remember, those achievement test sessions must have been “non-essential”. Homeschoolers pay their own way for all achievement testing for the K-12 years and find ways to get it done with proctors and without assistance or funding from tax dollars. For the ACT/SAT they are limited to the test times/locations offered just the same as public school students. The difference being that the public schools themselves host most of the test sessions and any students can register to access those sessions.

    Lee’s lockdowns torpedoed the public school system achievement for the year. They are behind. They used the Coronahoax as excuse to not test, because it would reveal this. Test-optional now must be extended for years to hide the damage.

  6. Kenny Crenshaw

    Homeschoolers routinely run circles around the output of the government indoctrination camps. So rather than improve the output of these camps, they eliminate the scores. And the funding continues to flow in.

  7. Daniel Meredith

    Anything they can do to shun those “you know who” people… (white conservative Christians).

  8. Kevin

    Remember, “higher” is a relative term! You don’t want to throw arbitrary test results into the process, kids should just be able to “feel” like they’re smart!

    But, why should higher education, UT in this case, be any better than that of K – 12 education in Tennessee, where a large percentage of kids can’t read? Dumb them all down, isn’t that all part of the plan? Then, maybe throw in “free” higher four year education.

    You might as well keep the kids in school, all the jobs have been sent to China!

    This sure makes you start to wonder who the h-ll is running this operation?

  9. M. Flatt

    The answer is a simple one, without politics.
    The scores are needed for homeschoolers to be in the system as a version of standardization. Without the proper forms filled out, the clerical staff at admissions have no idea what to do with them.

  10. Some Dude

    This is a relative non issue, since, historically speaking, home-schooled children generally outperform their state-schooled peers’ scores, by over 15% on these tests.

    In fact, if I were a home-schooled student, during “this time”, and do very well on these tests, I would post them on my first resumes. Since most state-schooled peers graduating would have NO scores to “brag” about, at all, when seeking that first job.

    ~ Whatever “it” is… it’s better to have it, and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

    Imagine being the ONLY applicant with an SAT score of 1350 (and similarly great college performance), and during the second round of interviews, corporations ask for the other applicants’ scores (who all have similar great college performances). All the others say, “I do not have”.

    ~ POOF! Differentiation. Elevation. Opportunity.

    HAVING the scores could be a significant advantage, when the vast majority will have NOTHING.

  11. rick

    Soon the only requirement to get in is you know your ABC’s but, home. schooler will still have higher requirements, it’s is discrimination for anyone that does not attend Democrat run failed public schools. It’s a race to the bottom between UT and Vanderbilt, to see which school is the most liberal. If you are liberal enough they may start selling mail order degrees without even attending school !!!