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SAN DIEGO – University of San Diego officials announced Monday that the school will continue its “test-free” admissions policy going into the 2023-2024 school year.

The result of the program created “one of the most academically qualified and most diverse first-year classes in its history,” officials said in a statement. It allows admission counselors to examine prospective students based on extra-curricular activities, essays, college-prep curriculum and other criteria, rather than factoring in a student’s ACT or SAT scores.

USD officials say program data found that incoming students did not perform any better or worse than students in previous classes.

“These students experienced extraordinary disruptions during their high school career,” said Steve Pultz, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment. “However, after reviewing the available student success data, there was no reason to think that having had a test score would have made any difference in the admissions decisions we made.” 

Additionally, the USD representative said the policy advanced the school’s goal of becoming a designated Hispanic Serving Institution, with applications from Hispanic students- as well as students from other diverse backgrounds- increasing by 12% in the two years since the school began the policy.

The idea came about in May 2020 when officials began a “test-optional” version of the program, allowing USD-hopefuls to submit either an ACT or SAT score, but was later changed to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic and the difficulty many students faced in safely taking standardized tests.