Rhodes College makes ACT, SAT scores optional for Fall 2021

Updated: Apr. 15, 2020 at 6:02 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With the school year coming to an abrupt halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities around the country are waiving standardized testing requirements for Fall 2021 applicants.

Rhodes College, a private liberal arts college in Memphis, is one of them.

"With an onset of an international pandemic, it looked like a good opportunity to try and pilot a program where we make it optional," said Carey Thompson, Dean of Admissions at Rhodes College.

He says the school will make SAT and ACT testing optional through Fall 2023, and then decide if it's something the school would like to continue.

“We were concerned that the SAT and ACT wouldn’t have enough testing dates available to students. Most of our students take the test two or three times and we were concerned they wouldn’t be able to do that,” Thompson said.

According to, a non-profit organization working to end the misuse and flaws of standardized testing, more than 1,130 colleges and universities have adopted ACT/SAT optional policies including Boston University, University of California and Middle Tennessee State University.

If students decide not to submit test scores, Thompson says Rhodes will look at a students' high school performance, written essays, letters of recommendation and extracurricular activities.

In the meantime he recommends current sophomores and juniors take virtual campus tours and do research on colleges to be ready to apply when the time comes.

"We hope to welcome all of those folks back to campus and certainly our first year students this fall."

WMC Action News 5 reached out to other local universities about their plans including University of Memphis, Christian Brothers University and LeMoyne-Owen College.

Christian Brothers University released the following statement Wednesday:

"At Christian Brothers University, we are still exploring ways to make the application process for our Fall 2021 class fair and accessible to everyone, including considering the ACT/SAT tests as optional. We certainly understand many high school students and their families are facing a great deal of uncertainty right now so we want them to know that when the time comes to apply for college, we will do everything we can to work with them.

For those students who are still making decisions about entering college or transferring to CBU this summer and fall, we are working with applicants on an individual basis to address any issues they may have with getting transcripts or test scores. Our mission is to help people get a high quality education, and right now, we all have to be creative and innovative in how we handle the application and enrollment process." - Dr. Paul Haught, Vice President for Academics and Student Life.

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