Niagara University drops requirement for SAT or ACT score

Posted at 2:55 PM, Aug 16, 2017

Submitting standardized test scores will be an option, not a requirement, for students applying to Niagara University.

The private school is implementing the new admission policy for the fall 2018 semester after a yearlong review showed a high school grade point average was the best indication of how successful a student would be freshman year.

"We know from our own data, as well as other research, that high school GPA serves as one of the strongest predictors of student success in college," said Rev. James Maher, president of Niagara University.


"When you're like a senior or a junior that one test score is a make or break for the rest of your life," Kai Ellis, Buffalo Seminary High School Senior, said.

Ellis says the pressure to get the best SAT or ACT score is extremely common among her friends, but that pressure is no longer an issue for students applying to Niagara University. 

When SAT or ACT scores were combined with the high school GPA, the predictive strength difference was negligible, the school said.


"I know I am a good student but I just feel like the score that I get and the testing itself is not a good representation of that at all," Ellis said. 

Niagara also consulted with sister Vincentian universities DePaul and St. John's, both of which are also test-optional universities.The school joins a number of other schools, such as Hobart and William Smith, Skidmore, and Geroge Washington University, who have adopted a test-optional admissions policy. 

The selection of incoming students will be based on their GPA, the rigor of high school curriculum, and extra-curricular activities.

SAT or ACT scores will still need to be submitted by students applying for certain academic programs and the university's top scholarships.

University at Buffalo, Buffalo State, and Canisius College all say their admissions evaluation take a holistic approach, meaning everything on the application is additive.