DePaul University Goes Test-Optional

By Ivana Kosir

DePaul University has decided to make submitting ACT and SAT test scores optional for incoming freshmen starting next school year.

In place of submitting a test score, applying students must write a personal essay about goals, life experiences, and other characteristics about a student that a test can’t portray.

” [There are] a lot of really smart, or creative, or resourceful, or talented people with great high school records, for whom a single measure like a standardized test does not tell the whole story,” wrote associate vice president of enrollment at Depaul Jon Boeckenstedt in an online letter.

As a former dean of admissions, Jerry Pope, current national college advisor, said that admissions departments not only look at test scores but also academic rigor and GPAs.

“I am very pleased that DePaul University has become test-optional. It concerns me when a college admission office places too much of an emphasis on test scores without fully reviewing and appreciating a student’s background,” wrote Pope in an email.

According toPope, there are more than 815 colleges nationally that don’t require ACT and SAT test scores when applying, many of which are highly selective. Regardless of this statistic, District 219 is continuing to establish college readiness throughout the student body at both Niles North and Niles West.

“College readiness standards are the test scores (according to research) that students should have to be successful in college and also in the work force,” wrote Pope.

College readiness refers to the score on the ACT that reflects  50% of students who should earn a B or higher in a certain college course. For example, the college readiness standard score for math is a 22 on the ACT. This means that 50% of students who received a 22 on the math section should earn a B or higher in a math college course, and 75% of people should earn a C or higher.

“It is important that our students are prepared for college and can compete in today’s world,” said Pope.

Niles West students say they are happy that DePaul has chosen to go towards test optional.

“I think it would [be easier to get into DePaul) because it’s easier for students that aren’t good at ACTs to get into DePaul,” said junior Despina Hopitakis.

“If you don’t do well on the ACT, you don’t have to worry about it. You can just write an essay,” said junior Mahek Dhanani.

Athena Hilentzaris contributed to this article.