Clark University Goes Test-Optional

University Testing

FairTest Examiner, January 2012

Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts recently joined the list of schools that do not require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. The addition of Clark, ranked in the top-100 national universities by U.S. News & World Report, further expands the test-optional movement beyond its base of highly selective liberal arts colleges.

Submission of standardized exam results is no longer mandated beginning with the class entering in the fall of 2013. Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Don Honeman explained: “If you focus on what Clark is all about – working with faculty and other students in a collaborative learning environment, engaging in undergraduate research, making a difference outside of the classroom – these all involve a commitment and learning style that may not be measured very well by how you do on a test on a Saturday morning.”

Clark’s hometown has become a hub for test-optional schools. Other Central Massachusetts institutions that do not require SAT or ACT scores from all or many applicants include Assumption, Holy Cross, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Anna Maria, and Nichols.

More than 120 colleges and universities that deemphasize admissions exams rank in the top tier among similar schools. That list is available on request from FairTest. All told, about 850 accredited, bachelor-degree granting institutions are now test-optional ( At least a dozen more are in the pipeline.

At the same time as an ever-growing number of colleges and universities are dropping admissions exam requirements, the number of students looking for such schools is soaring. Last year, 226,000 unique visitors accessed FairTest’s online test-optional lists, up more than 25% from 2010.