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Caldwell Makes Standardized Admissions Tests Optional

Caldwell, N.J., May 14, 2020 – Caldwell University will make the standardized admissions tests of the SAT and ACT optional for applicants for three years beginning with the fall semester of 2020.

A picture of Romell Ballentine, an admissions ambassador at Caldwell University.

Romell Ballentine works as an admissions ambassador at Caldwell University. He holds a bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in communication and media studies from Caldwell and a master’s in school counseling, also from Caldwell.

The pilot program has been put in place to allow for increased equity and access for all students and addresses the limitations COVID-19 placed on the ability to administer tests. The research for this policy was under development prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 and accelerated due to the crisis. A  data-informed approach was used to ensure that the university will render valid admissions decisions for students who choose not to submit test scores as a part of their application.

“We believe this is a very good option for students which will still allow for the validity of our admissions process while alleviating stress for vulnerable populations,” said Stephen Quinn, vice president for enrollment management and communications.  “This has been an ongoing dialogue at universities in the United States. This plan reflects our Catholic Dominican mission and the focus of serving students in an inclusive manner.”

Students who do not submit test scores can apply for any major and do not have to submit any additional documentation. Prospective students can still opt to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of their admissions application. Incoming students who do not submit test scores can still receive academic scholarships.  International students are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores. If international students were educated in a language other than English, they will need to demonstrate proficiency through the SAT or ACT or may pursue one of the following assessments: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE).

In April, the National Association for College Admission Counseling encouraged higher education institutions to reassess their admission criteria in light of the overwhelming challenges faced by many students including the coronavirus pandemic and issues of access for low-income, first generation and other vulnerable populations. Studies have shown that higher family income and the availability of preparation tests affect higher test scores. 


Caldwell joins more than 1,100 bachelor’s granting colleges and universities that are offering test-optional admissions policies.

 For more information about Caldwell University and its admissions process go to https://www.caldwell.edu/admissions/requirements