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SAT/ACT Waived For Fall 2020 & Fall 2021 Applicants

TLU’s AAA Committee has approved to temporarily waive the SAT/ACT admissions requirement for students now applying for fall 2020 and fall 2021. This also includes first-year students applying for the spring 2021 semester.

We are living in an unprecedented time that requires understanding, compassion, and flexibility. We believe students’ priorities should center around their health and safety as well as the health and safety of their families, their mental health and wellness, and the challenge of adjusting to a new online learning environment. The idea that high school juniors and seniors may also be anxious about not being able to take the SAT or ACT, since many of the March tests were canceled and the June test was canceled, should not be an added worry.


  • A new test optional form automatically appears on all students’ application status pages (those who haven't received an admissions decision of admit or deny.
  • Students who do not have an admissions decision but want to be test optional: If a student wants their application to be reviewed without test scores, they need to complete the test optional form and check “Yes” before their application can be reviewed by Admissions.
  • Students who have sent test scores to TLU but haven’t received an admissions decision: If we have test scores for a student, but their file hasn’t been reviewed (doesn’t have an admissions decision), they can choose to be reviewed as test optional. They will need to check “Yes” on the test optional form on their student status page.
  • Students who do not have an admissions decision but plan to provide test scores: If a student wants to proceed and have their application reviewed with a test score, they don’t have to complete the form on their student status page.

Conditions to choosing test optional:

  • Students who choose test optional cannot send scores at a later date: Admitted students who complete the form and check “Yes” to test optional cannot later send test scores in the hopes of qualifying for a higher scholarship. Once they commit to test optional, it cannot be undone.
  • Students who choose test optional may be asked for additional information: The student’s admissions representative or the admissions committee may request additional information from the student such as a new writing sample or a letter of recommendation.
  • International students: International students (students needing a visa to study in the U.S.) cannot apply test-optional. Though we do not require the SAT or ACT for them, they need to submit the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Transfer students who will be reviewed as first-year students will need to send scores.
  • Reactivated students: Students who have applied for a previous semester but did not attend, and are now reapplying for spring 2021 or fall 2021, have the option to apply as test optional.

Other special circumstances:

  • Students who have been admitted but planned to retest: Students who have been admitted, but were planning to retake the SAT to qualify for a higher academic scholarship, will be directed (by their admissions representative) to complete the existing financial aid appeal form. Admissions will not rereview admitted students as test optional. They need to go through the financial aid process.
  • Denied students: We will not rereview denied students as test optional. They should go through the regular appeal process to appeal their decision and provide new academic information.

It is important to note that all admitted students are eligible to receive the same academic scholarships whether they apply as test optional or they submit their scores. The three academic scholarship levels are: Heritage, Academic Excellence, and Presidential (TLU Promise).


Q: What does test optional mean?

A: Test optional means that a student may choose to not include their SAT and/or ACT test scores in the application file. The application file will still be reviewed for an admissions decision.

Q: How will TLU review applications without test scores?

A: TLU has always used a holistic review process when reviewing applications for admission. In addition to a student’s academic record and essay, we look for students who demonstrate they want to be involved in an inclusive and diverse campus community and embody our core values of community, education, and faith.

Q: Who “qualifies” to apply test-optional?

A: Domestic first-year applicants who are applying to the institution for the first time and who have never formally matriculated at a college or university are eligible to apply test optional. Students applying as international applicants (will need a visa to study in the U.S.) are still required to submit official TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System), SAT or ACT test scores.

Q: If I opt-in to test optional, how will my application file be reviewed? Do I need to send in any other documents aside from my application, essay, and high school transcript?

A: At TLU, all application files are reviewed holistically, meaning the admissions committee will review all aspects of an application, and each part of the application has equal importance. Not one single material, such as grades or the essay, will outweigh the others in the decision outcome. The admissions committee will read your entire application and will get to know you as a student. They’re looking to see if you are a good fit for TLU, and if TLU is a good fit for you. However, the admissions committee may request additional documentation from you to ensure that enough information is provided to make an admissions decision.

Q: When does test optional begin?

A: The test optional form will appear on applicants’ student status pages in Slate effective tomorrow, April 29. TLU admissions representatives will begin reviewing application files for students who opt-in as test optional effective immediately.

Q: What happens if I opt-in to be test optional, but choose to submit test scores at a later date?

A: Upon application to the institution, the student will complete a test optional form agreeing to have their application reviewed for an admissions decision without scores. By acknowledging the agreement, the student understands that they may not submit test scores after gaining admission to be considered for admission to a specific program (i.e. Honors, SNAP, etc.) or to be considered for a higher academic scholarship.

Q: If I apply as a test optional student, am I eligible to receive an academic scholarship?

A: Yes, students who apply without test scores and gain admission will be evaluated for an academic scholarship. Test optional students are eligible for all academic scholarships – Heritage, Academic Excellence, and Presidential (includes TLU Promise).