In the News: College Admission Process Looks Beyond Test Scores

At Augustana University, our admission process looks beyond standardized test scores.

When it comes to getting into college, is your ACT or SAT score really the be-all and end-all deciding factor?

At Augustana, the answer is no.

That's because students who choose AU want more than just a diploma – they want to be part of a community of learners working to build a better tomorrow. That's why our admission process looks beyond standardized test scores to who you are as a person – how you performed in the classroom and your extracurricular activities, community service and  leadership roles.

Hear more from AU freshman Grace Fjellanger and Vice President for Enrollment Nancy Davidson in this KELO-TV feature:

One Less Test To Stress About

By Leland Steva, KELO-TV

If you went to college or wanted to, you probably took an ACT or SAT test. While the results of those tests were crucial to what college or university you got into, today's high school juniors just got a big break because some schools aren't looking just at those test scores when considering who to admit to their ranks.

In fact, some universities are now more interested in the body of work students are doing instead of just one test.

It's a process many high school students look forward to, picking the school where they will continue their education.

"I reached out to a bunch of different schools. Did a lot of research. Tried to figure out what I wanted and what would be the best fit for me," Freshman Grace Fjellanger said.

Universities are also excited to welcome a new batch of students to campus each year.

"President Oliver says every year that this class makes Augustana like never before and so whatever they do and the people that they are, the unique characteristics that they bring help reshape the institute every year," Vice President of Enrollment Nancy Davidson said.

It takes a lot of work to bring students and universities together. For years, the ACT and SAT tests were considered among the highest measures of future success for students. Vice President of Enrollment Nancy Davidson says at Augustana University, that's not the case any longer.

"I always tell students it's a test, and you're more than a test."

– Nancy Davidson
Vice President for Enrollment

Instead, the University looks at the student's overall course work. For instance, how they performed in the classroom, as well as in extra curricular activities.

"Students here tend to be very well-rounded. They're great students but they recognize the importance of being a part of a community and that involves being engaged in whatever way works for them," Davidson said.

Davidson says students who come in with a wide variety of interests helps shape them not just for work in the classroom, but also in the community.

Augustana freshman Grace Fjellanger, took a wide variety of extracurricular activities when she was at Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls. She was involved in sports, speech, and theater. Fjellanger believes that involvement is helping her in the next stage of her education as she works towards a degree in communication.

"It really made me really well rounded, I think I had a much more distinct perspective of who I was and what I wanted to do when I got to college," Fjellanger said.

Yet, Davidson also says students have to be careful not to stretch themselves too thin.

"I have to volunteer 20 hours a week, and they have to have a part-time job, and they have to be in every activity. Find those things that really you're passionate about and invest yourself in those," Davidson said.

As for the dreaded ACT test, it's not something students can just throw to the side while they focus on the rest of their college resume. Davidson says students who do score low on the test could hurt their chances at Augustana, even while excelling at the rest of their school work. Taking the test, she adds, can also give students a better understanding of their education.

"It does provide additional information and even for the student. For them to have sort of a baseline of, 'Okay, where am I?' and 'Are there areas where I maybe need to focus a little bit more?'" Davidson said.

Fjellanger says she wishes she had put a little more emphasis on academics in high school. Her advice to students preparing for college is don't stress about the ACT, but don't forget about it either.

"Really get in there and try your hardest. Don't think that oh it's just a test like I can take it again, don't do that. Just really go in there. Try your hardest because it does matter. Definitely if you want for scholarships and stuff like that. It definitely does matter," Fjellanger said.

While this may be a stressful time for the next generation of students looking to get into college, officials at Augustana University and other institutions around the country are starting to say the ACT and SAT tests are rapidly becoming one less thing to stress about.

Watch the video:



Learn more about how to apply to Augustana University.