99 problems but a test ain’t one

Students can apply to Ferris without submitting standardized test scores

A new program has allowed students to apply to Ferris without submitting ACT or SAT scores for consideration.

Starting Fall 2019, Ferris will be piloting a test-optional admission policy, which bases student enrollment on high school grade point average (GPA) and written essays.

The program will be piloted for four years. If successful, the change may become permanent.

“Ferris will conduct continual assessment to ensure that students admitted under the program perform at levels consistent with those of students admitted under regular Ferris admission practices,” Ferris Dean of Enrollment Services Kristen Salomonson said.

However, some students are not eligible to apply under the test-optional admissions program.

For some students, test scores are an essential measurement of college readiness, Salomonson said. Therefore, international students, homeschooled students, statewide and online students, and student athletes are not eligible for the program. In addition, eligible applicants must have a high school GPA of at least 3.0.

Currently, there are more than 250 students who have applied under the test-optional program, with 115 having been accepted to Ferris.

The program is built to accommodate up to 450 students — which is about one-quarter of a typical freshman class — for each year of the pilot, Salomonson said.

Some students agree with the idea behind the program but believe a few adjustments to the criteria are necessary.

Ferris forensic biology and bio technology junior Shannon Hunt said ACT and SAT scores should not necessarily be considered by college admissions, but that there still needs to be more factors than only GPA examined.

“I think that when you apply here and you’re going off of GPA and things that they have done in high school, and then just taking essay questions, I don’t think that really determines if a person is truly ready for college,” Hunt said. “Some people can do extremely well in high school just because it was easy for them, and then they come to college and they have a harder time.”

Other students agree with the program completely and believe GPA is a fair basis of a student’s academic knowledge.

“It’s not unfair. Things change. I know change is difficult, but it doesn’t matter. The reason we make changes is we find faults in certain areas, and then we fix them,” Ferris nursing senior Samson Cytacki said.

There is not yet clear data on how the program will affect student enrollment.

“One thing we can say at this point in the year is that we have admitted students under this program who would have been rejected previously because of their test scores,” Salomonson said.

According to FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, Ferris is one of more than 1,000 four-year colleges and universities that are no longer considering ACT or SAT scores.

“There are many students who feel that their standardized test scores do not reect their abilities. They may have done extremely well in high school, but the results of a test taken on a single day can have a negative impact,” Salomonson said.