U-M formally adopts test-optional admissions policy

By Lauren Love 
Public Affairs

February 21, 2024

Smiling woman in wheelchair in sunflowers

After much advocacy from key admissions teams and DEI leaders, the University officially adopted a test-optional policy.

The University of Michigan has formally implemented a test-optional policy for undergraduate admissions for future terms. This means that students applying for admission for the winter 2025 academic term and beyond continue to have the choice of whether to submit standardized test scores as part of their application.

“Our commitment today to a test-optional policy for undergraduate admissions demonstrates our focus on providing access to high-achieving students from all backgrounds,” said Adele C. Brumfield, vice provost for enrollment management. ”Provost Laurie McCauley and I hope this action provides clarity on our process and helps students prepare for applying to U-M in 2025 and beyond.” 

A cross campus committee of faculty and staff worked throughout the past year reviewing the current research and literature, considering testing policies at peer institutions, and reviewing U-M application and student data. 

“Our well-established, holistic review provides a comprehensive picture of each student,” said Erica L. Sanders, assistant vice provost and executive director of undergraduate admissions. “Choosing a challenging core curriculum in context with what’s offered at the student’s high school is a good indicator of success. Sharing our test-optional policy now for future admissions cycles allows students to consider all factors when determining their plans for testing.”

In June 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, U-M implemented a “test-flexible” policy due to the variability that existed for prospective undergraduate students to access standardized testing locally, nationally and internationally. The terminology “test-flexible” was used to offer the opportunity for students to submit any tests they had available, including PSAT, SAT, ACT, IB and AP scores. 

The move to the “test-optional” language clarifies that applicants continue to have the option to submit standardized test scores (ACT, SAT) if they choose, while other test scores (AP, IB, PSAT), which applicants may have available, will no longer be considered in their place. The shift to test-optional will begin with the 2025 application cycle. The university will monitor the standardized testing policy on an ongoing basis.   

“To make the recommendation, the committee analyzed the most recent U-M data on test-flexible admissions and reviewed all of the latest national research,” said committee member Michael Bastedo, associate dean of research and graduate studies, and professor of education in the Marsal Family School of Education. “We concluded that a test-optional policy was, at this time, the best reflection of how to ensure access and fairness to a diverse range of U-M applicants.” 

Since fall 2020, U-M has seen a significant increase in applications from students from all backgrounds. This suggests that a more flexible testing policy, paired with other efforts introduced during this time like virtual events, targeted communications, and individualized outreach, has helped the university develop a more diverse campus community. 

National benchmarking, conducted as part of the review, also indicated that the majority of U-M’s peer institutions, and the other public universities in Michigan, remain test-optional.

Read this piece in the University Record