Skip area navigation

Test Optional FAQs

How do we evaluate students who don't submit test scores? 

Students wishing to be evaluated under our test optional policy will be reviewed holistically:

  • The admissions committee will examine a student’s entire application file to identify accomplishments in and out of the classroom. The committee evaluates holistically to identify ways they leveraged opportunities.
  • If a student previously submitted a standardized test score and chooses to apply as test optional, the test score will not be visible to the admissions committee.
  • The student’s application file will be evaluated for intellectual curiosity; academic rigor; involvement in school, church, and community; demonstrated leadership skills, talents, awards, writing ability, and diversity of experience. 
  • After the holistic review, a decision will be rendered by the admissions committee for test optional students. 
  • If a student is evaluated through the test optional path and denied admissions, the student may request re-evaluation and submit additional documentation such as an ACT/SAT/CLT test score, new letters of recommendation, an updated resume, or a new essay to be reconsidered. 

When do I have to choose whether I want my application evaluated as test-optional? 

When you submit your application to OBU you will indicate if you would like to be considered test-optional. After we receive your application, indicating the test-optional path, we will send a link with the required documents and ways to submit the necessary information to complete your application. We strongly recommend that you carefully consider your decision to apply with or without test scores. 

Students will not be able to move out of test-optional admission once an admissions decision has been made. Students may request to be re-evaluated if denied admissions and submit additional documentation such as an ACT/SAT/CLT test score, new letters of recommendation, an updated resume, or a new essay to be reconsidered. 

How will the essay question be evaluated? 

The committee will be looking for clear, concise, and focused writing that demonstrates thoughtful reflection. You will be able to share a part of your story and what you think your future could look like. The committee will be looking at grammar, writing ability and organization. They are looking for honesty and thoughtfulness. 

What if my scores are included on my transcripts or are sent by the College Board/ACT? 

If you have indicated that you would like to apply test-optional, your scores will not be considered as part of the application review. 

How does being considered test-optional affect merit scholarship consideration? 

All applicants to OBU are considered for academic scholarships at the time we review their application. This is true for all students regardless of standardized test submission. Our academic scholarships are awarded based on GPA or ACT/SAT/CLT test scores. Not having a test score will not prevent you from being awarded an academic scholarship. 

If I don't submit test scores, can I be considered for one of the competitive full-tuition scholarships? 

No. In order to be considered for the University Scholars program, Martin Scholars, or Allen Scholars you must submit an ACT/SAT/CLT score to apply for those scholarships. 

How will the test-optional policy affect my athletic status? 

For the Fall of 2023 the NCAA eligibility center is not requiring ACT or SAT test scores to receive an academic determination to become a full qualifier. Therefore, OBU does not require prospective student athletes to submit ACT or SAT scores with their application if they choose the test-optional admission pathway. 

Can international students be considered test-optional? 

International students can apply without submitting SAT or ACT scores. However, you must submit the TOEFL/IELTS if your first language is not English, or if it is otherwise requested by the University. TOEFL/IELTS scores will be used in the evaluation of test-optional admissions for international students. 

Does this policy apply to transfer students? 

Students who are transferring to OBU with more than 24 completed college credits do not need to submit ACT/SAT/CLT scores to be considered for admission. If you have completed fewer than 24 college credits post high school, you may choose not to submit your SAT/ACT scores and apply as test-optional and submit documentation accordingly. 

How do I know if applying test-optional is right for me? 

The decision to apply test-optional is a personal and individual decision. If you are satisfied with your test scores and believe they are indicative of your academic potential, then feel free to submit them with your other credentials. If you have a strong academic record but do not feel your test results are a good indicator of your academic potential you can choose not to submit them, and instead submit the required materials for the test-optional pathway. 

Every applicant presents a unique combination of credentials. Your grades, curriculum strength, test scores, recommendations, out-of-class experiences, personal character and integrity combined are what is considered by the admission committee. Generally speaking, weakness in one area can be compensated for by strength in another. 

The admission committee provides a comprehensive and holistic review of each application, meaning that there is no one element that guarantees admission. Feel free to contact your admission counselor if you would like to have a personal conversation about testing.