DEKALB, Ill. (WTVO) — Northern Illinois University announced a change to how it decides who it accepts for college admission.
Administrators say they’re adopting a “test blind” policy.
The school won’t consider standardized tests such as the SAT or the ACT for general admission or merit scholarship decisions, beginning with Fall 2021 applicants.
“Our institutional research showed us that the ACT and SAT scores that we’ve been asking students to submit don’t predict whether or not a student will succeed at NIU,” said NIU President Lisa Freeman.
Freeman, says research changed the administrator’s mindset.
“We really had to ask ourselves, why are we asking students to go through the trouble and expense of taking these tests and submitting these scores when they’re not indicative of a student’s potential to succeed and graduate from NIU?” she said.
That question led to the development of the school’s new admission policy, which it announced this week.
“The tests themselves cost money. The prep scores and the tutoring that students and families invest in, to help them get a better test score, cost money,” Freeman said. “Those resources aren’t available in all neighborhoods, and all communities.”
She says, although the policy wasn’t designed to help bolster enrollment numbers, it could entice students who may not be the best test takers.
“We hope that it will encourage more students to apply at NIU,” Freeman said. “Because we think there are probably students out there that feel defined by a test score, or deterred from applying because they’re too stressed out to take the test.”
Emma Thurow, a senior at Stillman Valley High School, said she thinks the college application process is stressful, and that less emphasis on standardized test scores could be beneficial to some students.
“It would eliminate another obstacle for me to go through, because I’m more than just my test score. I’m my talent,” she said.