Notre Dame will be test-optional for the 2020-21 application year

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Main Building framed by Notre Dame Avenue trees. Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame.

Main Building framed by Notre Dame Avenue trees. Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame.

The University of Notre Dame will revise its application requirements for the Class of 2025 as part of a one-year pilot program with the option of expanding to future terms.

First-year and transfer applicants will not be required to submit standardized test scores as part of their application for undergraduate admission. The test-optional pilot reflects conversations that leaders of Notre Dame’s admissions, scholarship and financial aid community have been conducting for a number of years.

Don Bishop, associate vice president of enrollment, explained: “Notre Dame has always been committed to a holistic evaluation process. Over the past 10 years, we have been less reliant on a student’s test score in our final assessment. It’s important for members of the enrollment management community to review and analyze standardized tests, including the SAT and ACT, and their impact to the selection process in the fuller context of student success.”

The test-optional pilot program will allow students the choice to submit a test score to be included in the evaluation of their application. This empowers students to decide what they consider to be the strongest application put forward to Notre Dame that may or may not include a standardized test score.  

“Moving to test-optional creates a pathway to Notre Dame for all students in the face of challenges brought on by the pandemic,” Christy Pratt, director of admissions, said. “We want students to know that we continue to be committed to providing access and equity in our application process.”

First-year and transfer applicants who decide against submitting standardized test scores for the 2020-21 application year will not be at a disadvantage in the application review process. International students whose native language is not English still must demonstrate proficiency by taking the TOEFL, IELTS, DET or PTE Academic. Students who have already taken the SAT or ACT, or who have plans to take the exams, may submit their scores for evaluation of their own choice.

The evaluation process will continue to include the student’s academic performance in high school and a review of the rigor of the curriculum pursued, along with written essays, letters of recommendation and the student’s résumé of extracurricular activities.

Bishop added: “Our most competitive applicants are more than just students — they are creative intellectuals, passionate people with multiple interests. Above all else, they are involved — in the classroom, in their community and in the relentless pursuit of truth. Our primary consideration is to view the productivity of students with the talents and resources they have had through their high school years and then assess how well they will use the academic, entrepreneurial and community-centered resources provided to them at Notre Dame.”

Notre Dame will continue to follow the rules and regulations set forth by the NCAA in the recruitment of and application review process for student-athletes.