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USM makes SAT or ACT tests optional for applicants in most academic programs

The University of Southern Maine is making SAT or ACT tests an optional part of the application process for most undergraduate degrees.

The change will go into effect in August 2019.

Research shows that high school grades and GPA are a better indicator of student success for students in their first year of college and allow greater access to first generation and underrepresented students. It also reduces some of the stress and anxiety in the college process for many students surrounding standardized testing.

"We're very excited about increasing access to a USM education,” said Nancy Davis Griffin, vice president for Enrollment Management / chief operations officer. “The data shows test scores can be reflective of a student’s economic background and not a true indicator of a student’s academic ability and potential.

“We want to remove this barrier for our prospective students,” Griffin said. “I am thrilled that the faculty of USM supported this decision, it is one that is in keeping with our value of equity."

 The testing requirement will continue for undergraduate applicants to the Nursing Program. Research shows that there is a strong correlation between SAT and ACT exam scores and pass rates for the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) exam for nurses. 

Also, beginning for fall 2020 applicants, USM will be offering a new “Early Action” option.

Students who apply for early action and submit their undergraduate admission application by November 15 — and provide all of the supporting materials by December 1 — will be guaranteed an admission decision by January 15.

The benefits of Early Action include allowing students to consider their offer of admission earlier in the process while reducing worry or stress waiting for a decision. It also allows more time to weigh college and financial aid options as they do not need to commit right away. They will continue to have until May 1 to decide whether to enroll.