Test Optional FAQs

Why did the University of Louisville make standardized test scores optional?

We recognize that opportunities to take the ACT or SAT have been limited due to COVID-19. We have always used a holistic approach when reviewing applications and will continue to do so now. We work with applicants who do not meet our ACT/SAT and GPA requirements and will work with students now who are unable to complete the ACT or SAT.  We look beyond test scores and consider a student’s grades, class schedules, external factors in their life, and their desire to earn a college degree. Going test-optional in Fall 2021 allows us to eliminate the pressure of submitting a score. It will also standardize what a student must present for admission review to UofL without scores. We will use the 20-21 academic year to carefully review the effectiveness of being test-optional and make a decision about continuing the policy for future terms.

How will UofL evaluate a student who chooses to not have their test scores considered?

We will continue to work with applicants using our holistic approach, by factoring in all the many variables beyond test scores. In the absence of test scores, our faculty will put more emphasis on student’s grades, curriculum, writing samples and letters of recommendation. Our application for Fall 2021 opens on August 1 and more details will be available before the application officially opens. Upon application submission, students choosing test optional will be notified of what materials are needed to help take the place of a test score. Our goal has always been to consider all factors and make a decision centered around student success at the University of Louisville.

If a student chooses to go test score optional, what additional materials will be requested?

  • A Cardinal Principles essay
  • After initial review of Cardinal Principles essay, a student’s first-semester senior grades may be required.

Is every academic program going to be test optional?

Most academic programs will consider students without test scores. At this time, the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, the School of Nursing, and the College of Business will still require test schools for admission review. Admission to our Honors Program will also require test scores.

How will a student know if he or she wants to be considered for admission without test scores?

Our admissions application will ask whether the student wants to be considered for admission without test scores.  Any student answering that question yes will be reviewed without test scores.

What if a student changes his or her mind and decide later to be considered without test scores or wants to be reviewed with test scores? 

Although we encourage every student to consider this decision carefully before applying, we will work to accommodate a change.  More details will be coming prior to August 1. 

What if a student has already sent the University of Louisville test scores or they are on the high school transcripts?

These students can still choose to be reviewed without test scores. Those scores will not be weighed in the decision. They will need to indicate they want to be considered for admission without test scores on their application.

How will students determine if they should choose to have test scores included as a part of the review?  

Ultimately, it will be the student’s decision to apply with or without test scores. It is recommended that a student begin by checking their intended school or college admission’s standards.

If a student is admitted, how will he or she be placed in courses without test scores? 

Any student admitted without test scores will be required to take the Accuplacer Math and Reading tests or another exam approved by the Council on Postsecondary Education for determining college readiness. Those tests will be used to determine placement. Some subjects such as Biology and Chemistry have either test score requirements or separate placement tests that will be required. These tests are available online and can be taken any time before freshman orientation or earlier. We will work with students and review these results to recommend resources developed to help students be best prepared for the rigors of college. Also, if a student is admitted and would like to submit test scores at that time they may. Some ACT or SAT sub-scores may be able to be used to meet the placement test requirement.  

If a student applies without test scores, will he or she be eligible for any UofL scholarships?

Most University of Louisville merit based (competitive and Kentucky/Southern Indiana admission) scholarships do have test requirements.  Regional scholarships are based on admission and do not require test scores.  Also, the Office of Student Financial Aid manages a number of scholarships for new students that only require admission to UofL.  In addition, they manage some automatic awards that are based on need and begin to be awarded November 1. (Based on the FAFSA and admission).  Our admission counselors are also dedicated to working with students admitted without test scores to find scholarship programs without test requirements.