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Coastal Carolina University adopts test-optional policy for Fall 2021 applicants

April 6, 2020
 CCU the first public university in S.C. to institute test-optional admissions policy

Coastal Carolina University (CCU) has adopted a policy allowing Fall 2021 freshman applicants who have earned a minimum 3.5 high school GPA (weighted GPA on a 4.0 scale) to choose whether or not to submit standardized test scores. The University’s Faculty Senate approved the policy on April 1, making CCU the first public university in South Carolina to establish this test-optional admissions policy.

The implementation of this policy change recognizes the limitations of the SAT/ACT in predicting student success, and supports the institutional mission to recruit and enroll a diverse student body. This new policy will also provide greater access to higher education within our state for many different populations of students.

“This is an important step for Coastal Carolina University, opening up new pathways for high-achieving first generation, underrepresented, and low-income high school students to further their academic success at CCU,” said Coastal Carolina University President David A. DeCenzo, Ph.D. “I applaud our admissions leadership for charting this path, and our Faculty Senate for supporting it.”

Coastal Carolina University conducted research in two areas – the ACES Admissions Validity Study and the Retention and Graduation by HS GPA and standardized test scores – and utilized information from this research to develop the test-optional admissions policy.

“The paradigm appears to be shifting away from the importance of standardized tests for making sound admissions decisions,” said Amanda Craddock, associate provost for enrollment management. “Research indicates there is no one test that can measure aptitude, ability, and achievement, which is why it was crucial for us to examine admissions criteria for determining what best predicts student success.”

Qualified applicants to Coastal Carolina University who choose to exclude test scores should provide evidence of a challenging academic curriculum that predicts future college success. The high school grade point average in a rigorous college-preparatory program, which can include advanced, honors, and college-level classes are the best predictors of student success. Applicants should also possess demonstrated leadership in extracurricular, work, or service experiences. Applying test-optional does not guarantee admission, nor does choosing to submit test scores on applications guarantee admission.

“I am pleased that this policy change will allow more students access to a Coastal Carolina University education,” said Daniel Ennis, Ph.D., CCU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Studies have long shown that there are better ways to emulate the likelihood of student academic success than a single test score, and, for students who have proven themselves in the high school classroom, this will save them time and money. We are joining a growing list of universities that are treating student admission as a holistic process that takes into account a range of student strengths.”

For more information about this test-optional policy, contact CCU’s Office of Admissions and Merit Awards, 843-349-2170, admissions@coastal.edu.