Emory students sing the Alma Mater to close the ceremony. Claire E. Sterk, the university's 20th president, presided over the 174th commencement exercises on Monday, May 13, 2019. Andrew Young, former Atlanta mayor and civil rights activist, delivered the keynote address. Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com
Photo: bandres@ajc.com
Photo: bandres@ajc.com

Emory University to make ACT/SAT optional for first-year applicants

Emory University will not require students take the ACT or SAT as part of its application process for those hoping to enroll there for the 2021-22 school year, officials announced Thursday.

ACT and SAT officials have had trouble administering the exams since the coronavirus pandemic began, prompting many colleges and universities not to require students take the tests as part of the application process.

Emory, the state’s largest private institution, is one of the toughest universities to get accepted to in the nation. Its admissions rate last year was 16%. The average ACT score of an Emory student is between 32 and 35. A perfect ACT score is 36. SAT math scores for most Emory students range between 730-790. A perfect math SAT score is 800.

> RELATED: Many places waive SAT and ACT requirements for 2021. Not Georgia

Emory will continue to accept self-reported test scores for students who have taken or plan to take the SAT or ACT. Those scores will be reviewed in the context of the student’s application. 

Emory said its admission committee will lean more heavily on other application materials, such as how many challenging classes applicants have taken in high school and their grades in those classes; volunteer or work opportunities and personal statements.

“With this change, Emory will take this year as an opportunity to re-examine its selection process, to study indicators of academic promise, and to assess how we can further advance equity, access and the diversity of our extraordinary student community,” John Latting, Emory’s dean of admissions, said in a statement. “We continue to be committed to the thoughtful, student-centered practices that have guided our work for many years.”

Some University System of Georgia institutions, such as Georgia Southern and Kennesaw State, waived the test requirements for students applying for the Fall 2020 semester. The system, though, has instructed its public colleges and universities to require the tests for students applying for the spring and fall 2021 admissions. Some admissions experts worry keeping the requirement could put Georgia at a disadvantage. The University System has said it is monitoring the situation.

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