STORY BY JAKE BULLINGTON
The magic number for getting into college is often thought to be an ACT or SAT score. Until this year, this magic number was a requirement on the application for admission to Drake University.
However, this year, the Office of Admissions offered students an alternate approach.
A press release this summer announced students applying could choose a test-flexible path, which means their application would not require a standardized test score.
However, there are exceptions for certain students, like pre-pharmacy and pre-occupational therapy majors or NCAA athletes.
Drake University is following in the footsteps in private or selective institutions like New York University and George Washington University, but Director of Admissions Laura Linn says this new path for admissions is not simply a “cookie cutter” plan.
“We want [the test-flexible plan] to be very specific to Drake,” Linn said. “It will allow us to get to know a student in a very different way than just looking at pieces of data or portions of a student’s application file.”
Instead of submitting a test score, students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher can choose to give an interview one-on-one with an admissions counselor.
The incoming Class of 2020 will be the first group of students eligible for the new application path, according to Linn. Some of them are already applying.
“Applications have really just started coming in, and we make our first admission decisions about the 15th of October,” Linn said.
Although the first batch of applications has started arriving at the Office of Admission’s doorstep, there are already several test-flexible applications in review.
Some students have mixed opinions about this new system.
““If the interview was question-based loaded with common knowledge and their applying major questions then I think it would do better than an ACT, although it might do damage to those who are better at studying over time, like an entire semester and not good with on the spot interviews,” sophomore Mathematics major Nathan Fastje said.
Linn believes once Drake staff conducts high school visits in the fall, the number will rise as awareness of this new option increases.
The application review process will remain the same: looking at students’ activities, coursework and how they will succeed in college.
The process for implementing this new path was a lengthy one. According to Linn, the process from the policy’s inception to releasing test-flexible path applications took about 18 months, while receiving feedback from faculty.
As testing changes throughout the country, the magic number of ACT or SAT will slowly fade away.