Never let a crisis go to waste is a maxim someone at Case Western University must deeply believe in, as the university’s admissions office announced today that it is now test-optional for students entering in the fall of 2021.
Case Western framed this admissions switcheroo in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced the ACT and SAT to cancel spring test dates.
“We understand students’ concerns about completing Case Western Reserve’s standardized testing requirements for admission. In response, the university has approved a test-optional policy for students applying for the fall 2021 semester. In light of the unprecedented circumstances the COVID-19 pandemic has created, Case Western Reserve believes students’ best interests are served by an approach that assures them of our flexibility as they progress through the college search process.”
The university went on to add, “We will determine policies for future classes in winter 2020/21.”
Expect more colleges to do this. While clear-eyed people will find unsavory the trend of colleges wrapping self-interest-guided decisions in imitative altruism during a real crisis when so many real people are suffering and losing their jobs/incomes – and potentially their lives, college admissions deans and their overlords are focused on generating as many applications as possible no matter the calamity that surrounds them.
Whatever happened to unvarnished honesty, especially in a time of crisis? Case – and many other colleges – want as many applicants as they can muster from the high school class of 2021 in what is likely to be an admissions cycle characterized by “softer” demand than college administrators want to contemplate.
I’ll believe “students’ best interests are served” when these same institutions reduce the price of tuition and/or offer permanent full-time online degrees. We don’t even know if recently deposited students from the high school class of 2020 will be able to start their college experiences on campus in August. In the meantime, congrats to Case on the PR and aggressively-timed (why not announce this over the summer?) attempt to stabilize your finances for FY2021-2022.