Canisius College is removing standardized test scores as a college admissions factor, removing a barrier that may put college out of reach for some students, the college announced Monday.
Canisius made testing optional in March 2020 due to the pandemic, and President Steve K. Stoute kept that policy in place when he took over in June as part of his plan to increase college enrollment. .
At 41, Steve K. Stoute is the youngest and first man of color to lead the college in its 150-year history. He said his first goal would be to increase enrollment, including more students of color, first-generation students and new Americans.
Now, Canisius is the first college in Western New York to officially remove standardized tests (SAT and ACT) when evaluating applications, Stoute said.
The college’s own research and studies from the College Board, which offers the SAT, show that high school performance is a better predictor of future college success than standardized tests, which tend to favor more advantaged students, said Stoute in a statement.
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Hundreds of schools across the country have made standardized testing optional — a trend that has accelerated during the pandemic. Others, like the California State University system — the nation’s largest public university system — have gone further, like Canisius, by eliminating standardized tests from consideration during the admissions process.
Many schools that have dropped the testing requirement have seen applications increase and the diversity of applicants expand.
Just like Canisius. Since testing was made optional, Canisius has seen requests increase by 18%. Its admission pool grew by 12%, including an increase in students of color from 37% to 44%.
Canisius has entered the most diverse classes in its 152-year history in the fall of 2021 and 2022, Stoute said. College enrollment of out-of-state students also hit an all-time high, and the average high school GPA improved for the incoming class, he added.
Stoute said the no-test policy supports the college’s renewed commitment to social justice. Students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds who can afford tutors, preparatory classes, and other resources naturally score higher than less privileged students from underrepresented and underfunded communities, as well as students with cognitive disabilities, he said.
“Standardized tests can even discourage talented students from applying to college, excluding many from the chance of reaching their full potential,” Stoute said.
“This new policy will remove a barrier to a high-quality Canisius education for students of all backgrounds,” he said. “As a Jesuit college, ours is a faith that does justice and this change will support our commitment to transforming our society by inspiring a new generation of leaders who will not accept the status quo but step out and redefine their field, think boldly , and act according to their principles.
Stoute, a first-generation college student who immigrated to the United States from his native Trinidad and Tobago to attend Seton Hall University, is committed to pursuing social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion during his interview for the presidency of the college.
Canisius is one of 27 Jesuit colleges nationwide, serving a Catholic tradition that teaches care and service to humanity as leadership qualities for all disciplines.