The University of Puget Sound has found that a student's grade-point average is more predictive of success in college than a standardized test score.

Share story

Updated version

Put away your study guides, college applicants — the University of Puget Sound doesn’t care how you do on the SAT or ACT.

The Tacoma university has joined a small number of Washington colleges, and a growing list of colleges nationally, that don’t require undergraduate applicants to submit standardized test scores when submitting an application for admission.

The reason? UPS has found that grade-point averages are much more predictive of how a student will do in college than a score on a test.

In Washington, several public universities assure admission for students who have a certain GPA, regardless of their  SAT or ACT scores. (However, the students still need to provide scores.)

Among private colleges in the state, Whitworth and Heritage universities do not require standardized tests for freshmen.

The new policy at the University of Puget Sound applies to students submitting applications for the 2016-17 school year. Students will instead be asked to write 100-word essays responding to two short questions. One of the questions is about a personal goal, and the other is about a community with which they identify.

The university says the questions are designed to identify non-cognitive characteristics that also have proved to be strong predictors of success in college. They’re based on the research of William Sedlacek, a professor and education researcher at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Jenny Rickard, vice president for enrollment at UPS, said the change was made because some students don’t do well on standardized tests, yet have the motivation and resilience to excel. By dropping the standardized testing requirement, the university hopes to broaden its applicant pool.

Clarification: The original version of this story said Washington State University, Central Washington University and Eastern Washington University applicants did not need to provide standardized test scores. Those schools guarantee admission to students who meet a certain GPA, but students must still submit scores.