Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the Test-optional evaluation process. Students applying for admission to Penn State for the summer or fall terms 2021 will have the option of having SAT/ACT scores included in their evaluation for admission.
Penn State has moved into a test-optional evaluation process for the 2021 admissions cycle. We are making this change to give Penn State applicants a choice that will ease the anxiety that many future students and families are experiencing as a result of test-taking disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Test-optional means that students will have the opportunity to decide whether they would like us to include SAT or ACT exam scores in the evaluation of their application. Once a student’s application is submitted, their test-optional choice is confirmed and cannot be changed. Students should carefully deliberate their response to the test-optional question on the application. When making that decision, students should consider how they would like to present themselves in the application process at Penn State.
We want students to consider their full academic performance while in high school. If a student has a particularly strong academic record, but does not consider their standardized exam scores to reflect their full academic potential, that student may want to apply to Penn State and not have SAT or ACT exam scores included in the evaluation of their application. However, if a student feels that standardized test scores supplement their overall academic achievement, we invite them to have their exam scores included in the evaluation of their application.
We encourage students to use the middle 50% ranges of admitted students (fall 2020) as a frame of reference. These ranges will give students some insight into how scores could impact decisions. We also strongly suggest that students discuss this test-optional decision with their school counselor.
In the end, at Penn State the bulk of the admission decision is a result of a student's academic preparation in high school, including overall grade-point-average and the academic rigor of their high school curriculum.
Please note that SAT or ACT exam scores will still be required for all applicants to the Premedical-Medical (PMM) program.