Niagara University President James Maher announced that Niagara University would be the first in WNY to implement a new test optional admissions policy for the Fall 2018 semester.
Here is the letter sent to NU alumni explaining the new policies:
I hope you are having a wonderful summer. I write to share some news from Monteagle Ridge about a new admissions policy that combines the most progressive admissions criteria and maintains the university’s high academic standards for admission.
Niagara University is taking the lead in Western New York by implementing a test-optional admission policy for the fall 2018 semester. As part of the policy, students seeking admission to Niagara may elect not to submit standardized test scores as part of their admission application.
Over the past few years, we have witnessed the strong movement to question college admissions procedures for their over-reliance on a single standardized test score – a concern that many, including parents and educators, have shared in the PreK-12 system of assessment as well.
Understanding this movement, the university community engaged in a year-long process that involved consulting with our sister Vincentian universities – St. John’s and DePaul, both of which are test optional universities, and a review of our own data. In our research we found that the high school grade point average (GPA) has the highest predictive strength relative to first-year college GPA. Additionally, when you combine standardized test scores (SAT or ACT) the high school GPA, the predictive strength difference was negligible. National data from the National Association for College Admission Counseling show no significant differences in college cumulative GPA and graduation rates between submitters and non-submitters (“Defining Promise: Optional Standardized Testing Policies in American College and University Admissions, 2015”).
As part of Niagara University’s test-optional program, admission for incoming freshmen will be based on a holistic review of a student’s application and supporting documents, including high school GPA, rigor of that student’s high school curriculum and the student’s level of engagement. For consideration of the university’s highest scholarship levels and certain academic programs, SAT or ACT scores will need to be submitted to the university.
Niagara University is proud to join a growing list of colleges and universities that have implemented test-optional admissions, including American University, College of the Holy Cross, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Le Moyne College, Providence College, and Wake Forest University.
This is truly a progressive way to enhance Niagara University’s academic reputation while, at the same time, challenging the paradigm of standardized testing as an admission criterion for incoming students. We are excited about this new approach to admission and we look forward to working with the next generation of Purple Eagles during the admissions process.