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Arkansas State lifts ACT requirement for school admission

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:10 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Standardized testing has been under scrutiny for some time now, and now Arkansas State is removing it as a requirement for prospective students.

More students might be touring Arkansas State in the future, as the coronavirus pandemic gave faculty a chance to contemplate.

“It gave us an opportunity to pause and reflect and think about what leads to success,” said Bill Smith, the director of communications at A-State.

Many have been questioning the use of standardized tests, and their use of projecting the future of high schoolers.

“We wanted to judge students on what they did in four years in high school,” Smith said. “Not what they did in four hours on Saturday morning.”

Now, to receive unrestricted acceptance to Arkansas State, a student must have a 3.0 GPA or have scored a 19 on the ACT.

Nettleton High School counselor Amanda Waln sees this only as a good thing.

“It levels the playing field,” Waln said. “It allows those kids to be viewed as more than just a test score.”

But, while the lessened requirement does help, standardized tests still act as a hurdle in another way.

“The standardized tests have been a point of stress for a lot of students, especially when you’re looking at that’s where a lot of scholarship dollars are tied to,” Waln said. “It’s based on their ACT scores and their high school GPA.”

So, while the financial hurdles for many aren’t going away, as colleges like A-State and Williams Baptist still attach ACT scores to many scholarships, Waln says it at least unlocks the door for students looking to take the next step.

“We’re going to have those that can now get in because of the test-optional admissions,” Waln said. “And that’s going to make a difference whether they can even start to entertain the idea of a four-year school.”

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