University of San Francisco Makes Standardized Testing Optional for Undergraduate Admission

New policy aligns with the Jesuit university’s mission and values

SAN FRANCISCO (March 27, 2019) — After a year-long assessment by administration and faculty, the University of San Francisco (USF) will make the submission of SAT and ACT standardized test scores optional for undergraduate admission. The new policy will begin for students who are applying to start their studies at USF in the fall of 2020.

USF joins more than 1,000 accredited four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. that are now test-optional, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing www.fairtest.org.

“We believe this is the right thing to do, both in terms of USF’s mission and values as well as in light of studies consistently showing that high school performance is a better predictor of first-year college performance,” said Donald E. Heller, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “Studies also show that standardized test scores have a low correlation with persistence and graduation – and that’s particularly true at USF.”

Michael Beseda, vice provost for strategic enrollment management, added: “USF is already one of the most successful institutions in the nation at enrolling and graduating a diverse student body.” Well-documented findings (many of which are detailed by Fair Test and other researchers) show an ACT or SAT score is often more reflective of a student’s economic background and the resources of their high school rather than their academic abilities and college preparedness, as well as racial, ethnic, and gender bias in test construction.

Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., USF president, said: “We are confident that even without standardized test scores, our holistic review of students’ applications to join our community is the most important element of our work to build an intellectually curious, diverse, and engaged entering class. This move is consistent with our foundational Jesuit values of caring for and appreciating the whole person.”

For more information, please visit usfca.edu.

About the University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco is located in the heart of one of the world’s most innovative and diverse cities and is home to a vibrant academic community of students and faculty who achieve excellence in their fields. Its diverse student body enjoys direct access to faculty, small classes, and outstanding opportunities in the city itself. USF is San Francisco’s first university, and its Jesuit Catholic mission helps ignite a student’s passion for social justice and a desire to “Change the World From Here.” For more information, visit usfca.edu.