William and Mary extends test-optional policy indefinitely


Wednesday, Mar. 1, the College of William and Mary announced it will be indefinitely continuing its test-optional admissions policy for undergraduate applicants. This decision follows the conclusion of a three-year pilot program that first went into effect in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented some students from taking in-person standardized tests. 

The College’s Office of Institutional Research reviewed data on academic success and retention of College applicants and found no significant difference between the cohort of students providing standardized test scores and those who did not. The latter cohort made up 34% of the latest class of applicants according to the College’s announcement. 

The Admission Policy Advisory Committee, chaired by Professor Michael R. Halleran, also reviewed the data and supported Associate Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission Tim Wolfe’s recommendation to indefinitely continue the policy.

“As we found through the pilot, we continue to enroll highly qualified students – with or without a standardized test score – capable of succeeding academically and in contributing to the William and Mary community,” Wolfe said, addressing the College’s public announcement regarding the change. 

The College’s policy change moves a step beyond other Virginia state schools. Both Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia have extended their test-optional policies for the next two years, but have not announced their policy for further admissions cycles. 

“We’ve also seen – both internally and nationally – that this flexibility increases our ability to recruit talented students who may not otherwise envision themselves at the university, including those who may be the first in their family to attend college,” Wolfe said.

The College’s announcement occurred on the same day as Columbia University’s switch to permanent test-optional admissions.


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