CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University announced today that it will no longer require freshman applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores to be considered for admission, starting with fall term 2021.

“This decision is in keeping with OSU’s mission to provide access to high-quality higher education for all qualified learners,” said Edward Feser, provost and executive vice president. “OSU is committed to advancing success for all students. The university is implementing this change after broad consultation and support from OSU stakeholders, including the university’s board of trustees, the Faculty Senate, student leaders and alumni.”

Beginning for the entering freshman class of fall 2021, undergraduate students applying to OSU will have the option—rather than the requirement—of submitting standardized test scores with their application for admission. Students applying for admission to OSU in fall 2020 will continue to be required to provide standardized test results.

OSU’s announcement was made today in concert with Oregon’s other public universities and OHSU. OSU decided to make the change in February, after its Faculty Senate voted 70-1 on Feb. 13, in favor of the new policy.

Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Southern Oregon University, Western Oregon University, and applicants applying to undergraduate nursing programs offered by OHSU had previously allowed students the option of not submitting test results. Oregon State University, Portland State University and the University of Oregon officially joined the other five Oregon institutions with the universities’ joint announcement today.

Across the nation, more than 1,000 four-year universities and colleges, including almost 400 top-tier four-year universities and colleges, have either abandoned standardized testing altogether or now provide students the option to take such tests. These changes follow decades of research regarding the contribution of standardized admissions tests in accurately predicting a student’s academic success once in college.

Test-optional policies nationwide allow students to determine whether a standardized test score is reflective of their academic accomplishments and ability.

“Standardized tests add very little to our ability to predict an individual student’s success at a university or college,” said Jon Boeckenstedt, OSU vice provost for enrollment management, noting that evidence also exists that standardized test results might not be inclusive.

“I have seen clear patterns that – when weighted heavily in the admissions process – standardized tests provide admissions advantages to students who are already advantaged, including students from higher income families,” said Boeckenstedt. “Some believe standardized test scores are merely a reflection of accumulated social capital, rather than an objective measure of a student’s academic ability or potential.”

Boeckenstedt said students applying to OSU, who believe their test scores are indicative of their ability or talent, are welcome to continue to submit standardized test scores, as well as supplemental information that will demonstrate the strength of their high school academic program.

Feser said that he hoped OSU’s decision to allow undergraduate applicants the option of submitting standardized test results will serve as some relief for students and families as the nation and world battlers the risk and spread of COVID-19.

“At a time like this, it is important that we examine everything we do to best serve our students’ education and provide maximum opportunity for future students to join us and succeed,” Feser said.

Students who wish to apply to Oregon State prior to fall term 2021 should contact the university’s Admissions Office to see if they need to submit standardized test scores, Boeckenstedt said.

General OSU

About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 36,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

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By Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, 503-502-8217, [email protected]


Ed Feser, 541-737-2111, [email protected]; Jon Boeckenstedt, 541-737-0759, 541-908-7210, [email protected]


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