The decision, which was well received by students, was expanded to include Fall 2024 applicants.
Fordham’s Undergraduate Admissions Office announced Sept. 12 that it would expand the optional testing policy to include prospective students applying for the fall 2024 admissions cycle. The university initially implemented the change alongside many other colleges in May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The measure was initially introduced early in the pandemic to allow applicants to be able to apply to colleges without risking infection by entering potentially dangerous testing centers. Patricia Peek, dean of undergraduate admissions and associate vice president at Fordham, explained that the decision goes beyond addressing the effects of the pandemic, as it also aims to make the admissions process more holistic.
“By making standardized testing optional, we have improved access for students who otherwise could not apply to the University, and we have done so while maintaining our commitment to academic rigor,” Peek said. “For some students, testing is an accurate measure of their achievement and for others it may not be. Our policy allows students to demonstrate their strengths in context.
The extension of the policy stems from the belief that in addition to highlighting applicants’ other skills and interests, waiving mandatory admissions tests will increase diversity among Fordham’s student body, according to Peek.
Among Fordham students, the extension of the optional testing policy has garnered support.
Mia Simmons, Fordham College of Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’26, said Fordham’s optional testing policy made her application experience more enjoyable. Simmons noted that by not requiring this component, more aspects of a student’s application are considered during the admissions process.
“I didn’t apply to Fordham with my SAT/ACT scores,” she said. “I think the policy of optional testing should still be in place for years to come, as standardized test scores limit the abilities of most students. Fordham accepts people on a holistic standard, however, test scores are usually a big part of the application process.
Simmons also added that the optional testing policy gives students the opportunity to come to a university without having to be defined by their standardized test scores. They are qualified by other factors such as their grades and the rigor displayed in their high school coursework.
She also added that Fordham’s decision to implement this policy will help students of color during the college admissions process.
“Because there are students who are people of color who have amazing grades, essays, volunteer and extracurricular activities, however, they are often overlooked at prestigious universities due to their lower SAT or ACT scores because that they don’t have the resources to have SAT tutors and ACT tutors and workshops in their fields,” she said.
Many students have expressed support for the change, as it will allow applications to more accurately reflect the student applying.
“Admissions counselors should focus more on student academic success, such as the clubs they are in, how involved they are in their local community, and how a student is doing emotionally” Dylan Parks, FCLC ’26
Dylan Parks, FCLC ’26, said admissions should consider other aspects of a student’s application and said he hopes to see the optional testing policy continue to be expanded in the future.
“Admissions counselors should focus more on student academic success, such as the clubs they are in, how involved they are in their local community, and how a student is doing emotionally,” he said.
Bella Reyes, FCLC ’25, never took standardized college admissions tests in high school and said she doesn’t think the exams accurately represent student skills.
“I still believe I have the ability to compete academically on the same level as the students who did, which makes me think it’s an archaic test format, at this point,” she said. declared. “I am pleased that Fordham is extending the voluntary testing policy.”
“We firmly believe that we can fairly assess applicants who submit test scores – as well as those who do not – and offer admission to applicants who can thrive at Fordham.” Patricia Peek, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Associate Vice President at Fordham
Peek mentioned that the policy extension was well received by students and noted that the admissions trend was representative of this.
“The fact that we have enrolled the two largest and most diverse classes in the past 2 years is an encouraging sign,” she said.
Regarding the ongoing implementation of the policy for future admissions cycles, Peek said more thought and data analysis is needed before a positive decision is made. She said she believes Fordham’s optional testing policy will increase access for students seeking the benefits of a Fordham education.
“We know that in a holistic exam, students exhibit a complex array of qualifications and characteristics that make them unique,” Peek said. “We firmly believe that we can fairly assess applicants who submit test scores – as well as those who do not – and offer admission to applicants who can thrive at Fordham.”