Bridgewater State University (BSU) offers the “No Test Option”, which allows prospective first-year applicants to choose whether to submit standardized test scores (SAT/ACT) to be considered in the admission process. In other words, sending scores is recommended, but not required.
Regardless of whether scores are submitted, the high school transcript remains the most important factor in the admission process. Even before becoming test optional, a strong high school record would trump low SAT/ACT scores, allowing us to admit what we determined to be qualified students.
So why do we offer the “No Test Option”?
Our concern has always been that students who perceive that they have scored poorly on the SAT/ACT (or avoided even taking it for the fear of doing poorly), may not apply to BSU and not allow us the opportunity to consider them for admission. Our hope is that making the SAT/ACT optional will eliminate this stigma for those students who might otherwise be qualified for admission using other criteria.
The "No Test Option" has been available to new first-year students since the fall of 2017.
It may be beneficial for some students. Standardized test scores are useful, but they are just one indicator of a student’s ability and potential for college success. The outcome of one test shouldn’t disqualify a great student from studying at BSU. Though we recommend students submit scores if they have taken them, some may decide not to do so.
Will the "No Test Option" make it easier or harder to qualify for admission?
Sending us test scores can only help an applicant and will never negatively impact their admission status. Test scores are especially helpful when an applicant’s recalculated cumulative high school grade point average (GPA) is below a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (B average). The state admission standards provide a sliding scale that allows higher test scores to compensate for a lower GPA (see the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Undergraduate Admissions Standards for the Massachusetts State University System and the University of Massachusetts). If you aren’t sure, we recommend you submit your scores.
If I have a documented learning disability should I select the "No Test Option"?
Actually, no. Students who apply and submit an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) are automatically exempt from the SAT/ACT requirement so will not be part of the “No Test Option” admission process.
Are you lowering your standards?
Not at all. We want to enroll students that are prepared to succeed at BSU, and this option is in line with that philosophy. Since implementing the “No Test Option” we have had a steady increase in the annual average test scores and high school grade point averages of incoming first-year students.
How do I participate in the “No Test Option”?
Just choose the “No Test Option” on your application. You will need to submit a personal statement (essay) in its place and a recommendation from your high school guidance counselor.
Can I participate in the “No Test Option” if I sent my SAT/ACT scores to BSU?
Yes. You can still select the “No Test Option” when you submit the application. If you do so, your test scores will not factor into our decision.
Once a decision has been made on your application, we will request that you submit your scores, if taken, for statistical considerations.
Can I be considered for merit scholarships without submitting standardized test scores?
Yes, most certainly! Test scores are NOT considered when selecting students for merit scholarships.
Can anyone select the “No Test Option”?
Most new first-year applicants can, but test scores are required for all home-schooled students and those that come from a high school that uses narratives rather than grades.
Can ESL students participate in the “No Test Option”?
Yes, however, students must submit the TOEFL exam to demonstrate English proficiency.
How will you review my application?
Whether a student chooses to send scores or not, our decision process will be similar. We focus on academic achievement, rigor of high school coursework, and what we know about your personal qualities. We will make a decision based on your whole application.