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Dickinson College Extends Test-Free Admissions Policy

Weiss Hall

Photo by Dan Loh.

College will not consider standardized test scores for admissions or scholarship decisions

by Craig Layne

Dickinson College has extended its test-free admissions policy through the fall 2023 admissions cycle. The move follows a yearlong trial of test-free admissions implemented in response to pandemic-related cancellations of SAT and ACT opportunities for domestic and international students.  

“The pandemic continues to impact the lives of future students and their families. We are committed to helping ensure their safety and peace of mind while being fair and equitable to all applicants,” said interim President John E. Jones III '77, P '11, adding that a two-year extension of test-free admissions allows the college to thoroughly study its impact and determine the best testing policies for the future.  

Test-free policies (meaning a college will not consider standardized test scores in admissions decisions) and test-optional policies (meaning a college will consider standardized test scores if an applicant submits them) have garnered considerable attention since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of many SAT and ACT test sites across the country.  

“One of the first questions I’m asked by prospective students and families is ‘how will you evaluate my application without test scores?’, and I assure them Dickinson has been doing that for decades,” said Catherine McDonald Davenport '87, vice president for enrollment management and dean of admissions. “Dickinson has had a test-optional policy since 1994, and we are entering our second admissions cycle with a test-free policy, reaffirming our commitment to access and equity in admissions.”  

When considering applicants for admission, Dickinson conducts holistic reviews of application materials, including high-school transcripts, essays and recommendations from counselors and teachers, to get a full and complete sense of a student’s talents, achievements, goals, aspirations and readiness for the rigors of a Dickinson education.  

There is more information on the test-free policy on Dickinson’s standardized testing information website. In addition, the college has embraced the Make Caring Common approach in conversations with students, parents and counselors. The college’s Early Decision I application deadline is Nov. 15. The Early Decision II and Regular Decision deadline is Jan. 15, 2022, and for students who complete a pre-application, Dickinson will waive the $65 application fee.  


Published August 16, 2021