As many high school students are scrambling because of the cancellation of SAT and ACT college admissions testing, Saint Leo University leaders are reassuring them that they still will be able to achieve their dream and earn a college degree.

Since 2018, Saint Leo has made the SAT/ACT scores fully optional as part of the admissions process for prospective students. The university adopted a holistic approach to admissions and looks at the whole student experience, rather than just their test scores.

"With universities across the state of Florida still requiring students to submit standardized test scores for admissions or scholarship purposes, we want to reassure students that they do not need to submit these scores for Saint Leo University," said Dr. Senthil Kumar, vice president for Strategic Enrollment Management.

"We pride ourselves on making a Catholic, private university experience affordable and accessible to students of all backgrounds," Kumar continued. "During this pandemic, students should not need to be worrying about the potential impact that these tests have on their future."

Rather than test scores, Saint Leo looks at a high school student's unweighted GPA; courses taken, including AP, IB, CLEP, and dual-enrollment subjects; and more when admitting a student. The rigor of a student's coursework is taken into consideration for additional scholarships.

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the cancellation of many SAT/ACT testing dates or limiting testing sites, this year, it is more important than ever for students to have the flexibility of applying for college admission without submitting scores.

The university focuses on each student's experience. "We prefer to consider the whole student, not just the numbers," Kumar said.

Many high school students are worried that if they do not take the tests and submit scores, they will not be eligible for scholarships. "This is not the case," Kumar said. "If you are delaying sending in your application because you are worried about this, go ahead and send it now as test scores are not necessary for your application to be reviewed as complete."

Test anxiety plagues many students while for those with special needs, testing can be especially difficult. Some high school-age students may be able to afford tutoring sessions, special classes and workbooks, and the tests themselves, but for others that is out of reach and too expensive. Making college admissions testing optional helps Saint Leo welcome a more diverse student body.

While many institutions of higher learning are just now dropping the test score requirement, Saint Leo University has implemented this approach since 2018 in order to look at each student as an individual. Admissions staff look at what the individual has achieved, and what the next step could be for that student.

Applications are being accepted, and scholarships are available for the Fall 2021 Semester. For information, email or call (877) 588-622-2009.