President Neal Smatresk said the university will not require 2021 freshmen applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores along with their application at the Nov. 19 Board of Regents meeting.
The university first decided to not require the scores for the class of 2024 at a May 14 meeting. The extended decision goes into effect for the summer 2021 semester.
At the November meeting, Smatresk said the university will shift to a formula based on students’ class rank and GPA. They believe this method will reflect a student’s ability to succeed more accurately while simultaneously removing barriers of entry.
“We made the change for two reasons,” Smatresk said in an email sent to the North Texas Daily. “The first is we considered for a while that SATs and ACTs were not the best indicators of college success, although if they are submitted, it gives us a more complete picture of them. Second, a growing number of students are having trouble accessing the tests so it was a good time to launch.”
“The adjustments do not remove the test score criteria,” Vice President for Enrollment Shannon Goodman said in an email sent to the Daily. “Rather, it makes the test score optional and provides other means by which a student may be considered for admission. In doing so, UNT joined many institutions, both statewide and nationally, in addressing the pressing issue of testing availability, as well as addressing some of the inequities that have historically challenged the testing system.”
For high school student Mary Quintero, the changes come as a relief.
“I’ve always been rather scared about my SAT scores, only because anything can influence a person on a test day, nerves or anxiety for instance,” Quintero said. “I find it rather odd to determine a student’s academic potential in the span of one test when anything can affect them and their grade on a certain testing day.”
Quintero received her acceptance letter in the mail this October and is still weighing her options citing proximity to family and diversity as her determining factors.
Anthony Taylor is a high school student who will join UNT during the fall 2021 semester and said he thinks the new option guaranteed him a spot over the edge.
“I didn’t make a great score on my SAT but my track record is exceptional and I feel that was a positive outcome in getting into UNT,” Taylor said. “I was the campaign manager for a city council campaign in this past election, I’m a published illustrator, I’m an RYLA [Rotary Youth Leadership Awards] attendee, and helped register my fellow senior classmates to vote.”
While the university continues to adapt its enrollment efforts during a pandemic, Smatresk says the way forward will be uncertain.
“[It] is nearly impossible to predict given the sweeping changes COVID has created in college-going rates,” Smatresk said. “I think across the U.S. there will be a significant downturn next year. So far we have outperformed, but next year could be a challenge and this will help us.”
Featured Illustration by Austin Banzon