Regional campuses won’t require ACT or SAT for fall admission

Students applying to start at Pitt’s regional campuses in Bradford, Greensburg, Johnstown and Titusville in fall 2020 will have the option of not providing ACT and SAT scores.

The decision was announced April 10 and is part of a pilot program in response to problems caused by the COVID-19 virus. The nationwide ACT test scheduled for April was canceled, and the next available test date is in June. Some testing sites were closed for the March SAT and the May and June tests have been canceled. The College Board said it is considering at-home tests if schools remain closed into the fall.

While the incoming class for the Pittsburgh campus is fairly well set by the end of April, a University spokesman said the regional campuses recruit well into the summer.

“The University of Pittsburgh is committed to helping students and families adjust to the realities of these challenging times and will continue to review and adjust policies accordingly,” said Joseph J. McCarthy, vice provost for undergraduate studies, in a news release.

Need-based aid programs, such as the Pitt Success Pell Match Program, will be available to all qualifying students, irrespective of the availability of SAT or ACT test scores. However, when included, SAT and ACT scores can still factor into merit-based scholarship eligibility decisions. 

“All applicants to the University of Pittsburgh already receive a comprehensive, individual review,” said McCarthy. “In the absence of a test score, the committee will determine admissibility by relying more heavily on factors such as the strength of a student's academic coursework, their grade trends and senior year curriculum choices, their performance in advanced courses (i.e. honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, post-secondary coursework), short answer/essay questions, extracurricular activities, and anything else that a student chooses to submit in order to demonstrate their academic potential.”

For decades there have been conversations about the value of standardized testing in higher education admissions. The Washington Post reported last week that a number of colleges and universities have in recent weeks dropped the SAT or ACT requirement for students applying to enter as freshmen in fall 2021.

Provost Ann E. Cudd said Pitt’s pilot program, “will provide a nice opportunity for Pitt to evaluate the impact of going test-optional. This pilot program for the regional campuses will be an interesting experiment and only fair under the circumstances.”

The Pittsburgh campus is not test-optional. Specific majors at Bradford, Greensburg and Johnstown may still require the submission of a score.

— Susan Jones