Temple University Sets Precedent for Nationwide Admissions Requirements

Temple has become the first public research university in the Northeast to make SAT and ACT standardized test scores optional for admission.

“At this point we feel that we need to ask other questions of these students,” says Senior Vice Provost of Enrollment Management, William Black. “Give them an opportunity to talk about their successes or their failures and what they’ve learned about it.”

This new policy is called “The Temple Option.” Instead of submitting standardized test scores for admission, prospective students can answer four written questions.

Standardized tests like the SAT and ACT have become unreliable indicators for college readiness according to Black. The questions hope to determine a student’s non-cognitive abilities which university officials refer to as ‘grit.’

The Temple Option hopes to offer an inclusive college education to students from the financially struggling Philadelphia School District.

“With our research, we had a number of students who had strong records within the school district, but were not testing anywhere near that,” said Black adding, “they do just fine here at Temple.”

Black explained the four self-reflective questions will ask students to examine choices they have made in the past and look forward to the future.

“So what are the kinds of issues that students have overcome or dealt with in high school that really measures their potential to be successful?”

The policy has already in effect for students applying for next year’s fall semester. For junior Megan Rybeck, the decision is already paying off.

“I mean [the SAT] is a pretty hefty price, and if you don’t do well the first time, you have to take it again.”

“Overall it’s a good thing because I did terrible on the SATs,” said sophomore biology major Nolan Dumont. “I know I’m not stupid.”

With the goal of making a Temple Education inclusive, the new policy hopes to cultivate “acres of diamonds” made famous in Russell Conwell’s speech.

“Our students are acres of diamonds students, first generation, and etcetera,” said Black, adding that he has already received calls from families lauding the change.

Featured photo taken by Temple Update Reporter Melissa Steininger. 

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