Student sitting with M Crookston hat backwards in class with saying overlay "Cultivate Curiosity"

Test-Optional Admissions Policy and Holistic Admission Review Process

Beginning with fall 2020 admission, students applying to the University of Minnesota Crookston will be reviewed using a new holistic admissions process that includes the option not to submit your standardized ACT or SAT test scores.

As part of the holistic review, UMN Crookston places greater emphasis on high school grades and the rigor of high school coursework when making admissions decisions. You choose whether or not you submit your ACT or SAT test score when you apply.

An in-depth study of graduation rates for students at UMN Crookston shows high school grades are a strong predictor of student success.  We believe an ACT or SAT score doesn’t accurately represent academic abilities for many students.

“Students spend four years earning their GPA, but they spend just four hours earning an ACT/SAT score,” states John Hoffman, vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs. “We believe what students do over four years of high school tells us more than what they do in four hours during an entrance exam.”

The decision to initiate the test-optional policy is central to a commitment to better serve students and to help them be successful on our campus.

Holistic Admission Review Process

The holistic review process focuses on three factors: 

  • High school grade point average (GPA) and a review of high school coursework
  • Range of co-curricular factors such as community service, leadership involvement, engagement in athletics or the arts, family roles and responsibilities, and work experiences
  • Answers to several short essay questions in which students respond with information about unique talents, achievements, or experiences overcoming challenges to accomplish educational and/or life goals.

Submitting test scores, it’s your decision

We encourage you to take the ACT and/or SAT standardized tests. Once you receive your results, if you think your scores are an accurate representation of your ability, send them our way. We will consider these scores along with all other materials in your application file – staying consistent with our holistic review process.

If you decide your test scores do not represent your abilities and potential, feel free to choose our test-optional process. Your application will be evaluated without considering test-score information, while maintaining a holistic review process. If you would like to explore this option further, contact one of our admissions counselors.

Frequently Asked Questions


How to apply test-optional:
When you submit your application, you will have the option to apply through our test-optional process on the Common Application or Golden Eagle Application. If you select this option, test scores will not be used (even if submitted) for admission or merit scholarship consideration.


How do we evaluate students who do not submit standardized test scores?
Through our holistic review process, we will review all other required materials including your high school transcript, co-curricular factors, and short essay questions. We will closely evaluate your high school work including curriculum, trends in grades, and how you challenged yourself. We will delve into your involvement in high school – extracurricular activities, leadership, and community engagement. 


Will I be at a disadvantage if I decide not to submit standardized test scores?
No. There will be no negative impact on your application, and you will be considered for merit scholarships.


Why would a student submit standardized test scores if they don’t have to?
For some students, their test scores accurately reflect their academic abilities and might even give a more complete picture of achievement and potential.


Will I be eligible for merit scholarships if I apply test-optional?
Yes, all applicants are eligible for merit awards so with or without standardized testing, you will be considered for merit scholarships.


Exceptions to the test-optional policy:

  • Applicants who are homeschooled or attending non-graded schools are required to submit official ACT or SAT scores.
  • Prospective NCAA Division II student-athletes are required to submit standardized (ACT/SAT) test scores to the NCAA Eligibility Center for NCAA initial-eligibility purposes. However, prospective student-athletes may choose to apply for admission as test optional applicants.
  • International applicants who do not list English as their first language must submit an acceptable score on either the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) to be admitted into a degree program. Details on English proficiency requirements and exemptions for international applicants can be found here
  • Students interested in the VetFast program must submit test scores to determine eligibility.
  • Teaching Education - If the students take the "ACT with Writing" and meet a certain passing score required by the state of MN, they do not need to take MN NES Essential Skills (Reading, Writing, and Math).

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