College adopts test-optional admissions policy for 2020-2021 applicants

Sofie Jones

The Office of Admission and Financial Aid will implement a test-optional policy for students applying to the College as first-years and transfers during the 2020-2021 admission cycle. This move comes after the cancellation of many standardized testing dates due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a departure from the College’s usual testing requirement, which required applicants to submit their SAT or ACT score, the admissions team will consider test scores as an optional addition in its holistic review of applications. This decision is meant to provide greater support and assistance to those handling the admissions process while dealing with the global pandemic, according to a press release issued by the College on Monday.

“This is an extraordinary moment and students who’ll be applying to Williams next year are facing an enormous and complex set of challenges,” wrote Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Liz Creighton ’01 in an email to the Record. “Moving to a test optional admission process for next year allows us to better support those students during the upcoming cycle.”

The Office of Admission will not change the multi-faceted review process that it has long upheld, both the press release and Creighton noted.

“Our admission process is a thorough, comprehensive and holistic one that centers students and their unique lived experiences,” Creighton said. “That will remain true next year. Test scores provide an important data point in that effort, but are just one of many, many variables considered.”

The College Board cancelled SAT and PSAT administrations scheduled for March through May, and ACT has postponed its April 14 testing date. Neither company has yet determined if test administrations scheduled in the early to mid-summer will occur as planned, according to their websites.

The implementation of a test-optional policy is the latest of several COVID-19-related changes the Office of Admission has made in recent weeks, including the shift to a virtual Previews and the suspension of on-campus tours and information sessions. The student reply date for those accepted to the Class of 2024 was also pushed back a month to June 1 to give those admitted extra time to weigh their college decisions.

“The next admission cycle will require enormous flexibility and resilience on the part of students and colleges alike,” Creighton said. “It will be a long road ahead, but we are eager to do anything and everything we can to help support prospective students and their families.”