Drexel Moves to Test-Optional for 2021–2022
July 7, 2020
I have seen college admissions change more in the past few months than in my entire 22 years of working in the field. In the spring, when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, it began causing chaos and disruption for many students, school counselors, colleges, and universities playing their role in what was expected to be another year of business as usual. In addition to secondary schools, colleges, and universities moving to remote/online models of education, several administrations of both the SAT and the ACT were cancelled. While there was a lot of focus (and rightly so) on the high school class of 2020 having to forgo things like proms, sporting events, other extracurricular activities, and even traditional graduation ceremonies, many members of the class of 2021 were beginning their college search process under conditions that none of the classes that preceded them had ever had to deal with while still trying to adjust and adapt to finishing their junior years away from their schools, teachers, and friends while missing many other aspects of normalcy.
We believe that adopting a Test-Optional policy will offer students greater flexibility in navigating the college admissions process.
In the midst of all of these changes in the world, Drexel also made a significant change in adopting a Test-Optional policy for students applying during the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. This change in policy aligns with our philosophy and values for undergraduate admissions. For several years, we have utilized a holistic approach to evaluating applications, as well as offered a Test-Flexible Standardized Testing policy that allows students a multitude of choices beyond the SAT and ACT to satisfy their standardized testing requirement.
Given the significant challenges students are facing, we believe that adopting a Test-Optional policy will offer students greater flexibility in navigating the college admissions process. I often encourage prospective students to think of their college applications as a vehicle for them to tell a story about themselves, their interests, their aspirations, their dreams, and their philosophies. It is my hope that removing standardized testing as a requirement for admissions will give students more time and space to be thoughtful and reflective about what the story is that they would like to share with the admissions committee.
We are excited to work with prospective students as they get to know Drexel and consider joining our community as future Dragons. We are committed to being flexible in working with students and counselors and hope that this policy change offers some ownership, control, and clarity to students during these challenging times. To all of you starting your college search processes, we wish you the best of luck.
Michael J. Keaton is Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Drexel. Mike enjoys public speaking, is a music and pop culture enthusiast, and has been working in college admissions since 1998.