Wofford joins the list of Carolina colleges that don’t require standardized tests


Photo by Wofford College/Mark Olencki

The faucet is turned on. What once was a trickle now appears to be a steady stream. According to the nonprofit National Center for Fair and Open Testing (www.fairtest.org), more than 950 accredited schools no longer require standardized testing.

Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., is one of the latest schools to endorse a test-optional policy that challenges the long-accepted view – actively promoted by College Board, the owner of the SAT – that scores on standardized tests predict a student’s performance in college.

Many students and parents have felt that it is unfair to determine a student’s potential for success based on a four-hour standardized test taken on a single Saturday, versus their performance over four years of high school academics.

FairTest prepared a list of the “275 “Top Tier” schools that de-emphasize the ACT/SAT in Admissions Decisions per U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Guide (2017 Edition). Colleges in the Carolinas include:

  1. Belmont Abbey (NC)
  2. Bennett College (NC)
  3. Brevard College (NC)
  4. Catawba College (NC)
  5. Furman University (SC)
  6. Guilford College (NC)
  7. Lee-McRae College (NC)
  8. Presbyterian College (SC)
  9. Wake Forest University (NC)
  10. Warren Wilson College (NC)
  11. Wofford College (SC)

Wofford will begin its test-optional policy, and will no longer require either the SAT or the ACT standardized test scores, in the fall 2018 admissions cycle; so this update is applicable for high school sophomores, but not juniors who will be applying in the fall of 2017.

“We consider a number of different factors when students apply for admission to Wofford,” says Brand Stille, vice president for enrollment. “These factors include high school grades, course selection, activities, an essay and recommendations. Consistently, a student’s high school GPA has been the best predictor of academic success at Wofford. We are very confident we can continue to make sound admission decisions without standardized test scores.

“We received a record number of applications this year, and we expect that being test optional will make Wofford more appealing to strong students who may not perform up to their own expectations on standardized tests,” Stille continues.

“Wofford is a place where professors recognize students who are prepared for class when they arrive, whether they are interested in the conversations taking place in the classroom, whether they are actively engaged in the learning process and whether they are willing to make the effort to succeed. These things are very important for success at Wofford. Test scores don’t measure any of these factors.”

Wofford will continue to evaluate applicants holistically, taking into account students’ challenging course work and academic performance, leadership roles, interests and success in other areas, Stille says. “Being test optional can provide us with a larger and more diverse pool of well-qualified applicants.”

The new policy was endorsed unanimously by the faculty Enrollment Committee and received overwhelming support from the entire faculty, Stille adds.

Here are details of the test optional policy information from the Wofford website:

For students entering Wofford starting in the fall of 2018, submission of ACT or SAT scores are optional for admission purposes. If you’re pleased with your SAT or ACT scores and think they reflect your academic ability, you may submit them for consideration. However, test scores are not required. All applications will be reviewed for admission and merit-based financial aid with or without test scores.  

Please note: Standardized test scores are required for International Student admission and for students who wish to be nominated as a Wofford Scholar.

Students who entered Wofford in the fall of 2017 reported scores listed below (these scores do not include the new SAT, launched in March 2016):

SAT Mid 50%        1090-1280 

ACT Mid 50%         24-29

All students accepted for admission to Wofford the fall of 2017 reported scores listed below: 

SAT Mid 50%           1150-1290

ACT Mid 50%          26-31


Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions to: lee@collegeadmissionsstrategies.com; www.collegeadmissionsstrategies.com