Baylor University to Go Test-Optional for 2021 Freshman Admissions Cycle

April 27, 2020

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (April 27, 2020) – After gathering input from across student support offices, all academic units and the Office of the Provost, Baylor University has made the decision to become a test-optional institution for the 2021 application cycle for incoming freshman students.

“We believe this shift will serve the complex and unique needs of freshman applicants for the 2021 class,” said Wes Null, Ph.D., vice provost for undergraduate education and institutional effectiveness. “We are confident that, through a holistic review process, we will be able to identify incoming first-year students who will thrive at Baylor and contribute to our campus community in significant ways.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly shifted the landscape for current high school juniors, who typically prepare for the upcoming college admissions cycle by visiting campuses during the spring and taking standardized exams, such as a SAT and ACT. However, the pandemic has disrupted test administrations, and uncertainty remains when and how testing will resume. Earlier this month, Baylor began researching the possibility of a test-optional admissions policy for 2021, receiving feedback from across the University to make its decision.

“In many respects, this shift to test-optional for 2021 will provide us with an opportunity to develop new strategies that will help us not only for 2021, but for 2022 and beyond as well,” said Jennifer Carron, associate vice president of enrollment management.

With travel and activity restrictions changing the plans of many rising high school seniors, Baylor also launched its 2020 Summer of Discovery, a collection of discounted summer course bundles for these high school students, as well as current Baylor students and incoming freshmen. The courses provide an opportunity for rising high school seniors to take online Baylor courses at discounted rates for college credit and potential early admission to the University.

A decision about the role of SAT and ACT scores for the 2022 class will be made next spring. In the meantime, the admissions and enrollment management team will begin working with academic units on adapting the 2021 test-optional policy for scholarships, major-specific entrance requirements, prerequisites and other areas.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 18,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.