fb-pixelBU makes test scores optional for applicants in response to coronavirus - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

BU makes test scores optional for applicants in response to coronavirus

At Boston University and several other universities, standardized exam scores will be optional for applicants, amid the coronavirus pandemic.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Boston University will make entrance exams optional for undergraduate students applying for the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters, as many high school students are unable to take the standardized tests due to COVID-19.

The ACT and the College Board, which administers the SAT, announced that two upcoming SAT exam dates would be canceled and that the April 4 ACT exam would be postponed. This decision was made as the nation has been advised against gathering in public.

“Next year is shaping up to be an incredibly challenging year for high school juniors between the cancellation of the SAT and ACT administrations, the disruption that is happening in their high school lives, and their inability to visit university campuses," said Kelly Walter, associate vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions at Boston University. "It was very clear to us that we really needed to do something that was going to help these students continue with their college search.”

Other universities, including MIT and Tufts, have also introduced test-score leniency for admissions.


At BU, applicants will be able to determine for themselves whether or not they want to include standardized test scores with their applications for admission. The policy applies to all undergraduate schools and colleges at BU as well as scholarship programs and is being adopted for one year. The policy will be reevaluated next spring to see if an extension is required. All policy updates will be detailed on BU’s office of admissions website.

“Admission decisions were never solely based on an SAT or ACT score, so I feel very confident that we will be able to continue to do a thoughtful and fair review of our applicants in the coming year," said Walter.

International students will still be required to submit the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) to evaluate their English-language proficiency.


Currently, two students and one staff member have been diagnosed with COVID-19. BU officials have said that the students and staff member are in self-isolation and the university is monitoring who they may have come in contact with.

“Right now, I think this will be an extraordinary relief for high school juniors who are worrying about how they are going to put all of the pieces of their college application together,” said Walter. “If this takes one worry off their shoulders, then I think that is a big win for students.”