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ACT, SAT now optional for new incoming students beginning with 2021 school year

Effective for the class entering in fall 2021, the Oregon Institute of Technology, "Oregon Tech," will admit first-year applicants based upon an unweighted college-preparatory grade-point average, and institute a fully test-optional admissions process.

Oregon Tech will be the first public university in Oregon to no longer require ACT or SAT test scores from first-year applicants, joining a growing list of universities nationally who are revising standardized testing policies.

The new criteria was developed from internal data on high school course patterns that correlate strongly with enhanced GPAs, retention and graduation rates among students who attend Oregon Tech straight out of high school.

Though score submissions will no longer be required for admission review for first-year applicants, scores may be used at the time of enrollment for placement purposes into introductory courses such as writing, math or science.

"This new process will enhance access for a greater number of seniors who could be a good fit for Oregon Tech" said Erik Johnson, director of admissions. "Our data demonstrates that course progression and grade patterns were stronger indicators of success at the time of admission than cumulative GPA or scores. ACT and SAT have a role in our placement and success models when combined with other variables like math and lab science grades, but in no way should a low or lack of a score reflect negatively in the review process."

The move away from minimum, mandatory scores aligns with the growing test-optional movement where even highly selective institutions have dropped their test score requirements. In 2018, the National Association for College Admission Counseling conducted a study of 28 colleges and universities, and 955,774 applicants, and found that ending SAT and ACT requirements results in more applications and more diversity — without any decline in graduation rates.

Erik Johnson emphasized that that even more important than test-optional is the evaluation of course patterns, grades and rigor in the review process that provides important data points on student success, retention and persistence at the time of admission.

"With a college-prep GPA and no minimum score requirements, we will recruit and retain more students who now have more options to meet our guaranteed admission standard," Johnson said. "We feel confident that this approach will strengthen Oregon Tech's support programs with more robust admitted student data. The Academic Standards, Executive Staff and the Admissions Committee are supportive of this policy change, and we're thankful for their forward-thinking perspective on access and student success."

High school juniors applying for the fall 2021 term will be reviewed based on the new criteria. More information regarding the criteria, college-prep course requirements, and test-optional benefits are available at

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