College lifts SAT requirement

By Jill Power | The Duquesne Duke

Applicants to the McAnulty College of Liberal Arts will no longer be required to submit their SAT scores for admission.

This change is intended to encourage students to apply to the college despite having lower standardized test scores.

“I think we all know there are students who are very able students but who do not do well on standardized tests,” Duquesne provost Timothy Austin said. “We’re running a pilot plan in which we try to find out whether there are some students for whom the SAT constitutes a barrier to their acceptance.”

James Swindal, dean of the liberal arts school, said the decision was made to encourage more students to apply to the college.

“The main thing is to get input from students to whom this option is attractive,” Swindal said. “It’s really student-centered.”

The change is also beneficial to students who are unable to take the test for financial or circumstantial reason, according to Swindal. Some students may not be able to travel to a test center, or a test center is not available near them. Removing the SAT requirement gives disadvantaged prospective students the opportunity to apply, he said.

Swindal said students will still be encouraged to supply their standardized test scores with their application. He said that although the college “may not agree with” a student’s choice to withhold their SAT scores, they will not be penalized during the selection process.

The average national SAT score for each individual test component is between 510-600 for critical writing, 500-600 for reading and 520-610 for math, according to the College Board.

Students who submit their ACT scores will continue to be considered as they have in the past. The ACT has always been an optional test for prospective Duquesne students to submit, but it has not been a requirement.

According to Jason Broadwater, associate dean of the liberal arts college, said students who choose not to supply their SAT score with their application will be put in a different group for consideration, but it will not necessarily put them at a disadvantage.

According to Austin, all other Duquesne colleges will continue to require applicants to submit their SAT scores with their application.

The SAT has been modified for the 2015 tests. According to the College Board, changes to the test include a stronger focus on context in passages, “real world” math, a shorter testing time and longer periods of time to complete each section.

Swindal said the change in the test and the college’s decision to remove the requirement are purely coincidental.