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All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

TCU forward Emanuel Miller (2) goes up for a layup against Cincinnati center Aziz Bandaogo, left, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, in Fort Worth, Texas. (Chris Torres/Star-Telegram via AP)
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ACT, SAT scores now optional for students applying to TCU in 2021

Photo by Heesoo Yang.

With spring dates for college admission exams being rescheduled and postponed across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, TCU will not require prospective students who are currently high school juniors to submit standardized test scores as part of their application to the university.

“There’s more to a student than their GPA and test scores,” Dean of Admission Heath Einstein said.

TCU’s decision comes just days after the University of California and all public universities in Oregon suspended SAT and ACT requirements for 2021 applicants.

The ACT has already announced its national April 4 test day has been rescheduled for June 13 in response to the concerns about the uncertain spread of COVID-19.

Einstein said a “thorough analysis of a student’s high school record” is just as good of a metric for judging their likelihood of success at TCU.

“TCU wants to do what we can to reduce some of the anxiety, so that students may focus on their safety and successfully shift to a new educational modality,” Einstein said in a press release.

However, if they choose to, prospective students will be allowed to self-report their standardized test scores with their application using the university’s online admission portal.

Einstein said this process involves a level of trust and is reliant upon “student’s honest self-reporting,” saying the “stakes are too great” for anyone to bend their numbers.

“If you tell us you got one score, and we find out your score was inaccurate, we’re going to rescind your offer of admission,” Einstein said. “If that happens in the middle of the summer before you start at TCU you’ll really be in a bad spot.”

Einstein said TCU has allowed students to self-report their test scores online for the last four years, a move inspired by an analysis of large public school systems and colleges throughout the country that already allowed self-reporting.

The data showed less than 100 fraudulent cases out of “hundreds of thousands” of self-reported test scores to places such as the University of Illinois, the University of Washington and the University of California public school system, Einstein said.

“It doesn’t make sense for us not to adopt a policy that was student-friendly and in line with our entire operation,” Einstein said.

This move will not impact students who have already been admitted to the university, but for students thinking of applying in 2021, Einstein said the university will “remove any attention” from test scores if a student chooses not to submit them.

“There’s still going to be students who take the test at some point and they’ll choose to submit them, or they’ll have the option to do that,” Einstein said. “If they would like to (submit the scores with their application) we’ll review it.”

Einstein said for students who might see a clear discrepancy between their grades and these test scores, this system gives them the option to submit just their grades if they “give a better reflection of their academic ability.”

“We can get an analysis of a student’s academic record, and an analysis of a student’s contribution to community by how a student spends his or her time, their resume and what their counselors and teachers say about them,” Einstein said.

Einstein said new information will be available on TCU’s website over the coming months, which will help advise students “when would be more appropriate to use standardized test scores and when would be less appropriate.”

Einstein has been answering questions like those on social media for prospective Horned Frog students and families unable to visit campus because of the coronavirus pandemic.

TCU is also offering virtual academic advising for students who have already been admitted to plan out their future path at TCU.

Einstein said he will be hosting future Facebook Live sessions as the university works to transition all of its upcoming admission events to virtual experiences.

He’ll also be doing a TCU Instagram takeover this Monday.

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