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Standardized Test Optional Policy

Beginning with the class entering in the fall of 2013, the submission of standardized tests (SAT I, SAT II and ACT) is optional for admission to Roger Williams University*. While we recognize that standardized tests accurately measure aptitude for many students, there are many others whose talents are not measured by such tests and they can serve as an artificial barrier to many highly qualified students, preventing them from even considering an RWU education.

We are proud to join with the more than 850 colleges nationwide who have made the decision to move to test-optional admission.

We hope that this policy will help both students and parents reassess the relative merits of testing as part of a larger review of what characteristics lead to success in college, including day-to-day performance in the classroom and the personal qualities and outside activities of the student, as well as high school transcript evaluation.

*If you are accepted and choose to enroll, we will require standardized test scores for academic placement and Advising.  Please note if you are applying to the School of Education, standardized test scores are required in accordance with requirements from the Rhode Island Department of Education.  

Here are some frequently asked questions about this policy:

Why did RWU make the submission of standardized testing optional?

Research has shown that the best predictor of academic success at RWU is strong performance in a college preparatory program along with other factors that are not necessarily captured through standardized testing. Our policy more accurately reflects the extent to which student motivation and initiative are important predictors of academic success. This is especially true at RWU, where students are expected to apply innovative and collaborative approaches to both traditional and project-based learning.

The decision to adopt a test-optional policy allows us to more clearly communicate what we value and what we know to be important for the success of our students – which includes much more than test scores. We believe that by allowing students this choice, and placing more emphasis on high school academic achievements and other involvements will allow for a more heterogeneous college community of students who share our core values, and an even better living and learning environment for all students.

How does this change the way that Roger Williams University evaluates my application?

Our admissions staff will continue to review applications as thoroughly as we have done in the past. Our application review process has always been a holistic one that places emphasis on a student’s day-to-day performance in a strong high school curriculum along with the nature and quality of the required essay, letter of recommendation, civic engagement and the student’s interests and extracurricular activities. While some programs also require supplemental items, such as a portfolio (see special requirements page), we will continue to evaluate any additional items a student chooses to submit in support of their application. Our best applicants have always been those who have challenged themselves beyond the minimum requirements.

Why would a student choose to submit standardized test scores if they are not required?

If a student feels that their SAT/ACT test scores accurately reflect their academic achievements and potential and will provide further evidence of their ability to succeed at RWU, he or she may wish to submit them. However, if a student does not feel their scores are indicative of his/her academic ability and potential, a student may not wish to submit them. For those students who choose to submit their test scores, the scores will be included in admission and merit scholarship consideration, as well as Honors admission for those students who choose to apply for that program.

How do I indicate whether or not I want my test scores to be considered for admission?

The RWU Member Questions section of the Common Application includes a question about whether you wish us to consider your test scores*. If you do not complete this question, your scores will be used. If you do not complete the question and you do not submit scores, your application will be considered incomplete until the scores have been received.

* We recommend that students applying for the elementary and secondary education programs submit test scores.

Will I be at a disadvantage if I decide not to submit standardized test scores?

No. There is no negative impact on your application for enrollment or eligibility for academic scholarships should you decide not to submit test scores and indicate that choice on the RWU Member Questions section of the Common Application.

Can I be considered for a merit scholarship if I do not submit test scores?

Yes. All applicants are eligible for merit scholarship consideration whether or not they submit SAT or ACT scores. Your academic achievements and application essay will be considered as part of the scholarship decision.

Are there any exceptions to the test-optional policy?

Yes. Due to Rhode Island Department of Education regulations, students interested in applying to the elementary and secondary education programs are required to submit SAT or ACT scores and homeschooled students are encouraged to do so. International students with a native language other than English are still required to submit their TOEFL or IELTS scores as part of their admissions application.

What if I have already submitted test scores and do not want them to be considered?

If you have already submitted test scores or they appear on the high school transcript and you prefer not to have the scores considered, the scores will not be used as part of the application review process if you have indicated that preference on the RWU Member Questions section of the Common Application.

Are students required to submit standardized test scores at any time?

Once a student has been accepted and decides to enroll at RWU, we require submission of his/her test scores for academic advisement and placement.