Starting with the class entering in fall 2020, Elms will no longer require scores from standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT for admission to most majors.

The move to a “test optional” policy will make an excellent higher education accessible to students from all backgrounds, including from underrepresented populations.

“Standardized tests measure one thing: how well a student can do on a single test on a single day,” said Jon Scully, MBA, vice president of enrollment management and marketing at Elms College. “They don’t measure dreams or aspirations, or a student’s potential to land a job after graduation, contribute to society, or work for social justice.”

Elms admission counselors will review applicants’ essays, letters of recommendation, and transcripts. They also will talk with prospective students, to get to know them as full people.

The college’s mission is to educate a diverse community of learners and empower them to change the world for the better. “We’re here to help them discover their purpose,” Scully said. “We’re also here to help them find ways to fulfill that purpose through their studies, their careers, and their personal and spiritual lives. We give students real-world experiences that will make them top candidates for jobs upon graduation.”

The test-optional policy will give all students, including those from underrepresented populations such as racial and ethnic minorities or those with economic disadvantages — groups who traditionally earn lower scores on standardized tests because of systemic social inequalities — a greater chance to access the educational and experiential opportunities Elms offers.

One major at Elms will still require test scores: The School of Nursing will still require applicants to provide test scores. The reason is that nursing majors are required, upon graduation, to take the NCLEX exam to become licensed as nurses. “The NCLEX is a standardized test, so we need to know that our nursing students can succeed on such exams,” Scully explained.

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