SLU Makes Standardized Testing Optional for Admission to Most Programs

Saint Louis University will move to a standardized test-optional admission process for all undergraduate and most graduate programs beginning with students applying for admission to the 2021-2022 academic year. Test optional means that prospective students may submit standardized test scores, but those who choose not to will not be disadvantaged in any way in the admission process.

SLU is mindful that the fall 2021 class is challenged by test date cancellations during the COVID-19 pandemic, making it impractical to require scores. Our hope is that this gives prospective students and their families one less worry during this difficult time.

For students applying for the fall 2021 semester, SLU will not require ACT or SAT scores for freshman or transfer applicants, and will not require the GRE or GMAT for most graduate programs. Due to accreditation requirements, a few graduate and professional programs, including law and medicine, will still require pre-admission tests. And English proficiency tests will still be required for international students.

Though test-optional admissions is spurred by the challenges presented by the pandemic, the University believes it can serve as a catalyst to accelerate our actions in bolstering diversity and increasing access to a SLU education.

While test scores have been requested as part of the application process, those scores have never been the sole factor in admissions decisions. Moving to test optional will mean even more holistic admission processes that, in turn, will lead to more diverse applicant pools and more students of color on its campus. This goal, in turn, will strengthen the educational experiences of all SLU students.

“Studies show that a prospective student’s high school grade point average is a much better predictor of college success than standardized test scores,” said Kathleen Davis, vice president for enrollment and retention management. “We also know that standardized tests have historically disadvantaged those students with lower family incomes and less access to expensive test preparations services.”

“As we move to a test-optional admissions process that should broaden access to groups of historically underrepresented and disadvantaged students, it helps us as an institution to live out our stated mission of pursuing truth in service to humanity,” said Jonathan Smith, Ph.D., vice president for diversity and community engagement.

The University is committed to providing the resources necessary to ensure students from all backgrounds have the support they need to succeed in and out of the classroom and to graduate with a SLU degree. 


Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of more than 13,000 students on campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of now more than 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.

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