Student working on computer on steps in front of BTS

Standardized Testing Optional for Admissions

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by Clem Boyd, Communication Content Manager

Cedarville University is making standardized test scores optional for students applying for the next two academic years.

Students can apply to Cedarville without an application fee through November 1. Visit here to apply.

The university shifted to a test-optional plan because many students have not been able to take either the ACT or SAT standardized tests due to restrictions or test cancellations related to COVID-19. The move is a response to students and families who have reached out to the university.   

"Thankfully, our application activity has been consistent with the last several years,” noted Scott Van Loo, vice president for enrollment management. “But when we started to review the data, we had 250 applications already where the only piece of information that was missing was the standardized test. In comparison to last year, we had less than 50 without a standardized test score at this same time.”


According to Van Loo, college admissions nationally has been impacted by the reduced opportunity of students to take a standardized test, resulting in students delaying or avoiding applying to schools with test requirements. “Students are being placed in a holding pattern while they wait to take the test and receive scores,” he added.

“We began anticipating that if we stayed the course with requiring a standardized test, the later we got in the recruitment cycle, the more students there would be without a test for us to review.”

Cedarville will remain test-optional for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years.

Because testing will no longer be a determining factor, Cedarville will instead put greater emphasis on a student’s high school academic performance. “We’re trusting the academic credentials on their high school transcript,” Van Loo said. “We’re confident we’re bringing in students who will succeed academically when they come to Cedarville.”

In the past, Cedarville’s merit-based academic and achievement scholarships have been awarded partially based on ACT or SAT performance. Under the test-optional plan, admitted students will still be eligible for merit-based scholarships even if they don’t have a standardized test score.

“We will be implementing a new merit-based scholarship awarding structure,” Van Loo said. “We anticipate sending our merit-based awards in early October, which is when we typically announce.”

Matt Dearden, director of undergraduate admissions, said he hopes the shift to test-optional will increase interest in Cedarville.

“We've heard from a lot of students that sending in a test will be very difficult for them this year,” he said. “We believe that going test-optional will allow more passionate, hard-working, academically minded students to attend Cedarville.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu