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The short answer, maybe not. The long answer, it’s complicated, and here’s why. Across the country, numerous colleges and universities have dropped their ACT or SAT requirement for admission. Due to COVID-19, ACT canceled several exams and students had to wait until the fall and winter to sign up for testing dates. Dozens of schools have announced new test-optional policies for students applying for admission in the fall of 2021. The test-flexible movement has increased over the years, due to concerns about the value of a single test score and the obstacles it poses for students who do not have access to test preparation. The pandemic has increased the need for colleges and universities to reevaluate their admissions requirements like never-seen-before.Graduate wearing mask

UNL’s requirements

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln states on their website that you are not required to submit an ACT or SAT score to be considered for admission or scholarships. However, specific scholarships like Regents Scholar Tuition Commitment and David Distinguished Tuition Scholarship requires a competitive ACT score for consideration. 

UNO’s requirements

In contrast, at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, students applying for admission must complete certain core course requirements and meet one of the following: Rank in the upper one-half of their graduating high school class, ACT composite score of 20 or higher or SAT equivalent, or a 3.0 or higher GPA. Of course, if you are missing one or more of the requirements above, then your application may be considered for Admission by Review. Each applicant will be reviewed and considered for admission on an individual basis by a committee of university representatives. Once again, for admissions based scholarships, specific ones require an ACT score.

Creighton’s requirements

Creighton University has taken a flexible approach and welcomes applications submitted with scores. They’re not going to penalize students in the admission or merit scholarship process by applying their new test-optional policy. If you choose to submit scores post-admission, they will review to see if you are eligible for a merit scholarship increase. No merit scholarship would be taken away because of test scores submitted post-admission. If students decide to enroll, they will be required to submit official ACT or SAT scores for advising purposes.

Future planning

In the future, colleges might look beyond exams and rethink the way they evaluate students. I recommend that students focus on other aspects of college planning such as extracurricular activities, clubs, taking challenging classes, and volunteering. Test scores do not define college success, and these items may become the new admissions standards and the way to receive admission-based scholarships.

Now circling back to the initial question, should you take the ACT if colleges aren’t requiring them? For admission based scholarships, yes. But, do not take my word for it. Contact the admission office at the college or university that you are considering and they will be able to provide an answer for you. I believe that as time goes by, more and more schools might consider other requirements such as your GPA, extracurricular activities, and personal statements versus an ACT score for scholarship purposes. Time will tell.