Pitt extends test-optional program through fall 2025

The University of Pittsburgh has extended its test-optional program for first-year undergraduate applicants on all campuses through fall of 2025.

The program was first implemented at the regional campuses for first-year students entering Pitt in fall 2020 and on the Oakland campus in fall 2021. The tests were made optional at many colleges in 2020 because of the difficulty students had in taking the SAT and ACT exams during the early days of the pandemic. Since then several schools have continued to be test optional.

The National Center for Fair and Open Testing reported that more than 1,800 schools will be test optional for fall 2023. These include elite institutions such as Harvard and Stanford as well as the University of California system, which has dropped the test as an admission requirement permanently. 

The Pitt program, which allows students to decide whether to include standardized test scores as part of their application, applies to undergraduate students applying to all programs, majors, schools and colleges across the University.

All applicants to the University of Pittsburgh receive a comprehensive individual review, according to an announcement from the University. In the absence of SAT or ACT test scores, the admissions committee will rely more heavily on other factors, such as the strength of a student's academic coursework, their grade trends and senior year curriculum choices, their performance in advanced courses, short answer/essay questions, extracurricular activities and anything else that a student chooses to submit to demonstrate their academic potential.

“Our decision to continue a test-optional approach reflects our deep commitment to accessibility for students whose diverse talents and potential for leadership may not be well measured by standardized tests. It is critically important that holistic evaluation of our students remains central to our admissions approach,” said Provost Ann Cudd.

Kellie Kane, associate vice provost for enrollment and executive director of enrollment outreach, said about half of the undergraduate applicants for this fall applied to the Oakland  campus without test scores, including about half of those who were accepted into the incoming class. Last year, the statistics were similar for fall 2021 admission.

Kane said the extension of the test-optional program will give Pitt admissions time to “fully assess the impact and outcomes of test optional while continuing to provide the opportunity for students to apply without a test being a potential barrier.”