Chris Schulz Published

WVU Moves To Testing-Optional Admissions

A large brick building with a prominent clock tower in the middle stands at the end of a large, green lawn.
WVU's Woodburn Hall.
Swimmerguy269/Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia University (WVU) has permanently adopted a test-optional admissions policy. 

WVU initially adopted a test-optional admissions policy ahead of the Fall 2020 semester, when restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic were keeping many college-bound high school students from taking either the ACT or SAT.

George Zimmerman, assistant vice president for WVU Enrollment Management, said a variety of ways for students to engage with education have emerged, and higher education is evolving and changing.

“We’re not trying to keep students out at WVU,” he said. “We want to give students as much access as possible to a college education, and giving students the ability to make that decision as to whether or not they want to submit a test score, and if that’s the best representation of them, in terms of their academics, really opens that door for a lot of students.”

Nationwide, more than 1,800 institutions are test-optional or test-free, according to FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

Zimmerman said the university’s recently announced budget shortfalls, as well as national drops in higher education enrollment, did not play a role in the decision. 

“We were navigating a large societal change in terms of a global pandemic that we’ve never been through before, and students never been through before,” he said. 

Students have the option of submitting test scores with their application, later or not at all.

“This policy is actually more about giving students that option to be able to apply with their scores or not, and really providing access and removing barriers for education,” Zimmerman said. “What we’ve seen nationally is that students like institutions to be test optional. I think there’s a lot of other characteristics that we’re really looking into and taking into consideration and making sure that we’re again, setting that student up for success.”