Test-Optional Admission Consideration Pilot Program

Test-Optional Admission Consideration Pilot ProgramFerris State University is proud to announce piloting of a test-optional admission consideration program beginning in academic year 2018-19.


Under this program, eligible applicants may opt to be considered for admission without submitting standardized test scores to the university. Ferris recognizes that industry and scholarly research increasingly suggests that standardized testing provides an incomplete picture of some applicants' ability to succeed in a college environment.

While the ACT and SAT continue to be valuable tools for assessing some students’ college readiness, performance patterns indicate that test content and/or processes do not serve students of all backgrounds equally well—meaning that requiring them for admission consideration potentially creates another barrier to higher education for students who are already facing challenges.

At Ferris, we want to help students break those barriers down. Our university was founded on the principle of providing opportunity, and we take great pride in that tradition. Ferris will offer the test-optional admission consideration program on a pilot basis for four years to assess its value for the university and the students it serves.

Please see the FAQ section below for more information.

  • Ferris’ test-optional admission policy allows students to apply for admission consideration by the university without submitting ACT or SAT scores. Applications of eligible students who do not submit scores will be reviewed based on other measures of academic performance, such as grade point average and questionnaire responses.

    Test scores will still be considered for students who do wish to submit them, and those scores will still add value to their applications. Whether or not a student submits test scores simply will no longer be a determining factor in admission decisions regarding students eligible for participation in the test-optional program.

  • Ferris recognizes that industry and scholarly research increasingly indicates that standardized testing provides an incomplete picture of some students’ ability to succeed in a college environment. This research also indicates that requiring ACT or SAT scores may prevent capable students from obtaining a college education, and points to a number of considerations:

    1. Standardized test scores may not offer an accurate reflection of some students’ academic abilities. While the ACT and SAT continue to be valuable tools for assessing college readiness in other students, patterns observed in standardized test performance suggest that test content and/or processes do not serve students of all backgrounds equally well.

    2. Positive correlation between higher family income and higher standardized test scores suggests that access to paid test preparation resources, more than any other factor, determines a student’s standardized testing outcome.

    3. Over-reliance on standardized testing in the college admissions process may deny higher education access to students who struggle on a standardized test but would otherwise be successful in a college environment.

    From Ferris’ perspective, these factors potentially work to reinforce the educational barriers faced by students from disadvantaged backgrounds—barriers that we want to help them break through so they can build better lives. Consistent with our founding principle of providing opportunity, Ferris will pilot and assess this new admission model to create a path for students who choose not to submit ACT or SAT scores.

  • Ferris will pilot the test-optional program for four years. Up to 450 students (approximately one quarter of a typical freshman class) may be admitted under the program for each of those four years. Eligible applicants will be required to submit essays or participate in interviews instead of providing test scores.

    As with all incoming students, course placement for test-optional program students will be determined by the COMPASS examination. Ferris will conduct continual assessment to ensure that students admitted under the program perform at levels consistent with those of students admitted under regular Ferris admission practices.

  • Any student may feel that their standardized test scores do not reflect their abilities, and, moving forward, any student eligible to participate in Ferris’ test-optional program will be able to choose to apply to Ferris without submitting test scores.

    However, scholarly research on national enrollment trends indicates that students who most often choose not to submit scores include students who are the first in their families to attend college and disadvantaged students. Ferris has a strong tradition of providing opportunity for all, and we are proud to implement measures to continue that tradition today by improving access to a Ferris education.

  • No. Students who choose to submit test scores will continue to receive the same consideration for admission that they received previously, and submitting test scores will still add value to a student’s application. Choosing not to submit a test score simply will no longer disqualify a student in admission considerations, provided that student is eligible to participate in the program.

  • Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 high school GPA. Ferris will admit up to 450 students (approximately one quarter of a typical freshman class) through the program for each of its four pilot years. Students who apply after the program has reached capacity will not be admitted but may reapply with test scores for further admission consideration.

    Applicants will be required to respond to a questionnaire instead of providing test scores. Applicants who do not complete the questionnaire will not be eligible for test-optional admission consideration.

    Ferris will continue to require ACT or SAT test scores from students for whom the score represents an essential measurement of college readiness because of other factors in the students’ situations. Students not eligible to participate in the test-optional pilot program include:

    • International students (contact the International Admissions office for more information)

    • Homeschooled students

    • Student athletes

    • Statewide and Online students

    Ineligible students who apply without submitting scores will not be admitted but may reapply with test scores for further admission consideration.

  • Eligibility for Woodbridge N. Ferris scholarships at the Ferris Gold, Dean’s and Provost’s scholarship levels will be determined by GPA and, if submitted, ACT or SAT score. For consideration for the Founder’s, President’s and Ferris Crimson scholarships, submission of an ACT or SAT score will continue to be required.

  • Data from nearly one million applicants to 28 four-year colleges and universities, published by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, indicates that students who did not submit test scores graduate at the same or a slightly better rate than students who do submit them.

  • Ferris will continue to require ACT or SAT test scores from students for whom the standardized test score represents an essential measurement of college readiness because of other factors in the students’ situations. Students not eligible to participate in the test-optional pilot program include but are not limited to:

    • International students (contact the International Admissions office for more information)

    • Homeschooled students

    • Student athletes
  • The choice of whether or not to submit test scores is ultimately up to each applicant. Applicants should consider the following questions:

    • Does my test score represent my academic abilities accurately?

    • Does my high school GPA represent my academic abilities accurately?

    • Have I thoroughly reviewed Ferris’ policies related to its test-optional program?
  • Eligible students who wish to be considered for admission without submitting test scores should complete Ferris’ free standard application at apply.ferris.edu and select “No” when prompted to answer whether or not they intend to submit ACT or SAT test scores.

    In admission considerations, Ferris will not review test scores for students who select “No” in response to this prompt on the Ferris application, even if those students’ scores have already been sent to Ferris.