Calvin will no longer require students to submit standardized test scores when applying for undergraduate admission.

We know that you are more than your test scores. Our experience at Calvin, as backed up by extensive research, has shown that academic achievement in the classroom is a stronger indicator of student success. With our test-optional approach, we hope students who view standardized tests as a barrier to college—or those who have not been able to take standardized tests during the pandemic—will have increased access to a Calvin education.

What does it mean to apply as test optional?

Simply put, test optional means that students do not need to provide standardized test scores in order to be considered for admission to Calvin University. Students may choose not to include their SAT, ACT, or CLT test score(s) when they apply for admission. Their application file will still be reviewed for an admissions decision.

How do I apply as test optional?

A new test optional question is included on both the Common Application and the Calvin Application. Simply check “Yes” or “No.”

How will Calvin review my application without test scores?

Calvin has always used a holistic review process when reviewing applications for admission. Our admissions team will consider your academic achievement, unique talents, leadership and service activities, and any other information you choose to submit in your application. We look for students who demonstrate they want to be involved in a welcoming diverse campus community and who value faith, discovery, and community.

Will applying as test optional affect my eligibility for scholarships?

You are eligible to receive the same academic scholarships whether you apply as test optional or submit your test scores (SAT, ACT, or CLT).

If you choose not to submit test scores when you apply for admission, your GPA will be used to calculate any academic scholarship for which you qualify. You will be notified of an academic scholarship in your admission letter.

If you decide to submit your test scores later—even if you applied as test optional—Calvin will review new scores until March 1 and notify you by email of any increase to your academic scholarship. New test scores will not reduce your previously awarded academic scholarship, so there is no disadvantage to submitting test scores.

Certain named (donor) scholarships require a test score in order to qualify. Many named (donor) scholarships do not require a test score.

There are also some outside agencies that require test scores. For example, to automatically qualify for the Federal TEACH Grant, you may want to submit your test score(s). However, this can be done at a later date.

Who can apply as test optional?

  • Domestic first-year applicants who are applying to Calvin for the first time and who have never formally matriculated at another college or university are eligible to apply as test optional.
  • International first-year applicants whose first language is English are eligible to take advantage of the test-optional policy. However, if English is not your first language or you are attending a school where English is not the primary language of instruction, you will be required to submit the results of your Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Test System (IELTS), or Duolingo as evidence of English proficiency.

If you take the SAT and earn a score of 500 or higher on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section (EBRW), your English proficiency admission requirement will be waived.

Should I apply as test optional?

If you feel that your test scores are an accurate portrayal of your academic ability, feel free to include your test scores in your application. If you feel that your academic ability is better demonstrated by your high school transcripts than with your test scores, you should consider applying as test optional.

Can I change my mind about applying as test optional?

Upon application to Calvin as test optional, students agree to have their application reviewed for an admissions decision without scores. This means that after receiving an admissions decision you may not submit test scores in order to be considered for early admission to a specific academic program (i.e., early admission to Nursing or Speech Pathology). However, Calvin recognizes that standardized testing has been interrupted due to the pandemic and will work with applicants who want to submit scores but are not able to.

Special circumstances

  • Students who choose test optional may be asked for additional information. The student's admissions representative or the admissions committee may request additional information such as a new writing sample or a letter of recommendation.
  • Deferred students: Students who applied for a previous semester but did not attend and are now reapplying may now apply as test optional.
  • Denied students: If a student chose to include test scores when applying for admission and was denied admission, Calvin will not re-review them as test optional. Students should go through the regular appeal process to appeal the denial and provide new academic information for consideration.