George Washington University recently implemented a “test-optional” policy for undergraduate applicants on Aug. 1, according to a statement on the school’s website.
Temple University just used its own test-optional policy for its 2015-16 incoming freshmen called the “Temple Option.” Interested applicants can instead opt to answer four essay questions in place of test scores, which will help determine if the student is a good fit for the university. The first batch of students have just used this option for the first time at Temple.
Many colleges like the University of Texas at Austin, Arizona State University, Alcorn State University, University of Mississippi and University of Nevada, Las Vegas do not require students to submit test scores for admission as long as they meet minimum class rank and GPA requirements.
The reason is to “allow students to present themselves in the best possible light,” says William Black, Temple’s senior vice provost of enrollment management.
RELATED: George Washington University drops requirement for admissions tests
As of this week, 30,037 students have applied to Temple for this academic year — the largest number of applications in the history of the university, according to Black.
Of those applicants, 24% used Temple Option. 60% of those students completed all four of the questions in place of submitting test scores. Of those who completed the application, 49% were admitted.
Making test scores optional during the application process appears to have broadened opportunities for students from both urban and suburban environments.
It may be a matter of economics.
To take the SAT in Oct. 2015-Jan. 2016 it costs $54.50 per student. To take it in March-June 2016, it costs $43. The cost and availability of the test have caused critics to say it’s discriminatory to require it in the admissions process. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the percentage of African American and Latino applicants at Temple has increased by 22% and 26% since they dropped the test requirement and added the essays.
RELATED: New SAT part of a changing admissions process
These essay questions — which Black says will be changed every two years for the sake of anonymity — are analyzed by graduate students and admissions representatives and given scores that are used in enrollment decisions.
“There are several constructs that we’re looking for,” Black says. “We’re looking for self concepts, how they set goals, to what they attribute their successes and their failures and how do they think about the future. It’s fairly narrowly defined, but we believe there is quite a bit of latitude to bring in their own experiences.”
Students who use Temple Option are also still eligible for scholarships, awards and the Honors Program, Black says.
Compared to students who chose to submit either SAT or ACT scores, 46% of Temple Option applicants have made deposits while 31.5% of students who submitted test scores have made deposits.
“We’re very interested to see whether or not these kinds of numbers hold up over the last few weeks over the summer,” Black says.
Temple is the first public university on the East Coast to implement an option with essay questions as an alternative, Black says.
RELATED: Will the LSAT soon be a thing of the past?
“This is a bold experiment for Temple, but I think the faculty and the deans who are involved in the final decision on this all appreciate what we are trying to do in order to make sure Temple is serving its students and the market in the best possible way,” Black says. “We’re giving students the best possible option to find their way to Temple and eventually graduate.”
Emily Rolen is a student at Temple University and a summer 2015 USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent.
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If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.
The acceptance rate at Temple University is 56%. For every 100 applicants, 56 are admitted.
This means the school is moderately selective. The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they're more flexible than other schools. If you exceed their requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting in. But if you don't, you might be one of the unlucky minority that gets a rejection letter.
Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.
The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.
The average GPA at Temple University is 3.51.
(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.
With a GPA of 3.51, Temple University requires you to be around average in your high school class. You'll need a mix of A's and B's, and very few C's. If you have a lower GPA, you can compensate with harder courses like AP or IB classes. This will help boost your weighted GPA and show your ability to take college classes.
If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.51, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.
Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.
Temple University hasn't explicitly named a policy on SAT/ACT requirements, but because it's published average SAT or ACT scores (we'll cover this next), it's likely test flexible. Typically, these schools say, "if you feel your SAT or ACT score represents you well as a student, submit them. Otherwise, don't."
Despite this policy, the truth is that most students still take the SAT or ACT, and most applicants to Temple University will submit their scores. If you don't submit scores, you'll have one fewer dimension to show that you're worthy of being admitted, compared to other students. We therefore recommend that you consider taking the SAT or ACT, and doing well.
Temple University SAT Requirements
Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.
Average SAT: 1230 (Old: 1719)
The average SAT score composite at Temple University is a 1230 on the 1600 SAT scale.
On the old 2400 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1719.
This score makes Temple University Competitive for SAT test scores.
Temple University SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)
The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1120, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1330. In other words, a 1120 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1330 will move you up to above average.
Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:
|Section||Average||25th Percentile||75th Percentile|
Temple University SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)
The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 1550, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1870. In other words, a 1550 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 1870 puts you well above average.
Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:
|Section||Average||25th Percentile||75th Percentile|
SAT Score Choice Policy
The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.
Temple University has the Score Choice policy of "All Scores."
This means that Temple University requires you to send all SAT scores you've ever taken to their office.
This sounds daunting, but most schools don't actually consider all your scores equally. For example, if you scored an 1300 on one test and a 1500 on another, they won't actually average the two tests.
More commonly, the school will take your highest score on a single test date. Even better, some schools form a Superscore - that is, they take your highest section score across all your test dates and combine them.
Some students are still worried about submitting too many test scores. They're afraid that Temple University will look down on too many attempts to raise your score. But how many is too many?
From our research and talking to admissions officers, we've learned that 4-6 tests is a safe number to submit. The college understands that you want to have the best chance of admission, and retaking the test is a good way to do this. Within a reasonable number of tests, they honestly don't care how many times you've taken it. They'll just focus on your score.
If you take it more than 6 times, colleges start wondering why you're not improving with each test. They'll question your study skills and ability to improve.
But below 6 tests, we strongly encourage retaking the test to maximize your chances. If your SAT score is currently below a 1230, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You don't have much to lose, and you can potentially raise your score and significantly boost your chances of getting in.
Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and SAT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.
Temple University ACT Requirements
Just like for the SAT, Temple University likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.
Average ACT: 26
The average ACT score at Temple University is 26. This score makes Temple University Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.
The 25th percentile ACT score is 23, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 29.
Even though Temple University likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 23 or below, you'll have a harder time getting in, unless you have something else impressive in your application.
ACT Score Sending Policy
If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.
Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.
This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 26 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.
ACT Superscore Policy
By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.
We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to Temple University, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 26.
Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.
SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements
Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.
Temple University requires you to take the SAT/ACT Writing section. They'll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.
SAT Subject Test Requirements
Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.
We did not find information that Temple University requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.