Purdue reinstates standardized test scores requirement, students, counselor talk about impacts

Jenny Li

Helena Wang

Purdue University will release admission decisions for the Class of 2023 on Sunday, Jan. 15. Purdue announced it will require students to send standardized test scores starting with the Class of 2024 after halting the requirement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For some students like senior Zachary Spurgeon, the change won’t affect him. 

Spurgeon said even though he applied to Purdue before the school required SAT scores, he sent his standardized test scores anyway. Spurgeon is not alone, as over 80% of applicants provided their standardized scores in 2022, before Purdue reinstated its requirement, according to WDRB.

“(The reimplementation) honestly does not (affect my decision to apply for Purdue) because I took the SAT anyway (and) COVID didn’t really have much of an impact on me taking my SAT, but I know it did have an impact on some other people,” Spurgeon said. “It didn’t affect me much but honestly for other people I can see it being a trivial influencer.”

Junior Russell Hunt said he is also not affected by the reinstated requirement.

“Most of the schools that I’m applying to (require the test scores) anyway, so it doesn’t affect me,” Hunt said.

Melinda Stephan, college and career programming and resources coordinator, explained why Purdue reimplemented its requirements for submitting standardized test scores.

“I’m not surprised (that Purdue is reimplementing its requirements for SAT and ACT scores), I think all along Purdue’s position with the test-optional situation, especially during COVID, was (Purdue) preferred tests but they understood that some students couldn’t send them,” Stephan said. “They never actually used the term ‘test optional’ (but instead) used the term ‘test flexible,’ which again sent the message that (Purdue) can be flexible knowing that it’s difficult for students to take (the standardized) tests but (Purdue) would really like to see those tests, so I was not surprised at all.” 

However, Spurgeon said he can see why some students may see the reinstated requirements as a hindrance to their decision to apply for Purdue. 

Spurgeon said,  “I don’t think it’s that big of an issue (here), but in places where there are natural disasters, health problems (and other factors that may prevent students from taking the tests needed), it can be a huge factor in those areas.”

Hunt said he agreed, saying that not everyone performs their best during standardized testing.

He said, “I know that a couple kids that aren’t having as easy of a time as me and also get really stressed out during standardized tests and I feel that it’s unfair that the year before don’t have to submit their tests but now we do.” 

If students are concerned about the reinstated requirement, Stephan said they should see her.  

“I think some students may make a decision not to apply to Purdue because they’re concerned that maybe their test scores don’t live up to expectations,” Stephan said. “I would highly encourage that students come talk to us here in the college and career center or their counselor before they make a final decision whether to not apply to Purdue is just to let us help them kind of navigate the data, the information we have because Purdue admits by major (so) it’s not as easy as looking at a school that admits more generally where if your scores don’t fall in the middle 50% or above or maybe if you don’t send them, or maybe if you might be in a bubble, because it’s really major by major, some test scores will get you in to particular majors pretty readily and others will be red flags for the admission folks.”

Stephan said students should also keep in mind that college admission officers don’t only look at the test scores or GPA, but how a student challenges themselves.

“(College admission officers ask themselves) what (courses) did you take? Did you appropriately challenge yourself so that you’re prepared for college level work? Because really the question that (college admission officers) ask themselves is, ‘Can this student be successful in college?’ and ‘Can they be successful at our college?’” Stephan said. “A test gives them a little bit of information, but really the primary data that they’re looking at is ‘What did the student take and what were the grades that they earned in those courses?’ And they’re actually not really focused in,—especially Purdue, our admissions rep tells us this all the time,—on the GPA number; GPA doesn’t tell you anything. What tells you a lot of information is what did you take and what were the grades you earned in those courses and were those courses, courses that are going to prepare you for the major that you are attending to apply for and were the grades solid enough to reveal that you are going to be successful in that major on campus, and in this case, Purdue.”

Spurgeon said he shared similar views with Stephan. He said, “I do believe that it is important for schools to have some kind of a standardized score in order to compare students from different schools, because you can have students at CHS that are very (academically) competitive and different schools that have, or might not, be as competitive and you can have a pretty accurate comparison using a standardized score rather than just grades.” 

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