George Mason Adopts SAT-Optional Admissions Policy

May 25, 2006Print-Friendly Version


George Mason will permit high school seniors with strong academic records to apply for admission without standardized test scores, becoming one of the largest competitive public universities in the nation to offer such a policy.

Beginning this fall, seniors with cumulative GPAs of 3.5 or higher who rank in the top 20 percent of their class will have the option of being considered for admission without submitting SAT or ACT scores.

These students can instead be evaluated on their overall academic records, which must include a challenging curriculum with a high number of advanced-level courses, as well as additional essays and letters of recommendation.

The university will continue to accept standardized test scores from students who believe the scores are an important component of their academic achievements or who do not meet the standards for the score-optional process.

Mason’s change in admissions policy follows moves by several smaller institutions that have successfully implemented score-optional admission strategies and reflects research that standardized tests provide little additional information to predict success for students with strong academic records.

“Analysis of Mason’s admissions and enrollment data demonstrate that the SAT is at best a weak predictor of incoming college students’ performance for freshmen who have strong academic performance in high school,” says Andrew Flagel, dean of admissions.

“Mason attracts outstanding students from around the world, and interest in our institution has surged with our recent athletic success and faculty distinctions. This policy change allows us to select the most academically qualified students from that rapidly growing pool,” Flagel says. He notes that students who meet the criteria to be considered without standardized test scores are not guaranteed admission.

“Standardized test scores have less and less weight each year in our traditional admission process,” he says. “All applicants need to clearly demonstrate their talent through their curriculum strength, academic achievements and extracurricular experiences, regardless of whether they elect to have test scores considered.”

Students seeking admission to the University Honors Program and Scholars Program; those who are planning to major in engineering; and home-schooled students must submit standardized tests scores.

The Office of Admissions is now revising its publications to reflect the change in admission requirements and will notify guidance officers and high school seniors on its mailing list in the coming weeks.

Students, parents and teachers seeking more information about the new policy should visit the web site.


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