Test Optional FAQ

Information for US Citizens

Why has St. Lawrence decided to become standardized test-optional in the admissions process? Since standardized test scores among applicants and enrolled students have risen steadily over the past few years and as graduation rates continue to improve, we know that we have much reliable information in our application process and we have trustworthy review processes. St. Lawrence has, for decades, used a comprehensive application with many components, all of which are reviewed by several professional staff. We have been aware for a while that standardized test scores rarely play a decisive role in determining our decision to admit a student, and we have recently completed research that shows high school grade point average is twice as powerful in predicting college success. So our decision is based on experience and research.

Which overlap/competitor schools have a test-optional policy? Other selected, liberal arts colleges making decision to be test-optional have been Bowdoin, Bates, Connecticut, Franklin & Marshall, Hamilton, Dickinson, Middlebury, Muhlenberg, Mt. Holyoke, and Wheaton. Some make the submission of test scores wholly optional; others provide a menu of tests for students to choose among.

How will students tell the admissions office whether or not they want their scores considered (since scores are often reported on official transcripts sent by the high school?) Students communicate their wishes about whether or not to have their test scores considered by responding to a question on the Common Application supplement.. Students who have their scores sent directly from the testing agency before applying will still be asked to declare on the supplement which scores, if any, they wish considered in the application review process.

If a student chooses to submit scores, is ACT or SAT preferred? No preference. Students will be able to choose to submit results of one or both of these tests or to submit none of these scores. If students submit scores for the SAT from multiple test dates, we will use the highest critical reading score, the highest math score, and the highest writing score. If students submit scores for the ACT from multiple test dates we will use the highest composite score.

Are there any subsets of the applicant pool who must submit scores? Any groups who are encouraged to submit scores? International students are required to submit scores from either the SAT, the ACT, or, for those for who English is a second language, the TOEFL exam is also required.
Home-schooled students are encouraged to submit scores from either the SAT or the ACT, as well as SAT Subject Tests.

On what part of the academic record will the most emphasis be placed? Although the application is evaluated in its entirety, the most important element is the secondary school transcript, including the courses taken, the grades earned and the trend of the grades over time.

What is SLU’s policy on SAT Subject Tests? These tests are optional for applicants. If scores from Subject Tests are submitted, they will be considered.

Is scholarship consideration affected by the test-optional process? Do students who submit test scores have a better chance of receiving merit scholarships? Scholarship selection is made on the basis of the overall academic profile of each student. We consider all of the academic information the student chooses to submit.