MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – To assist students and families grappling with the pandemic, Middlebury College will no longer require applicants to submit standardized test scores. The change is meant to offer flexibility to students who plan on applying to college in a world transformed by COVID-19. The new test-optional policy will remain in place on a trial basis for three years, through fall 2023.

“High school students are dealing with an enormous amount of uncertainty right now,” said Nicole Curvin, Middlebury’s dean of admissions. “The college search process is already stressful enough. Becoming test-optional is one way we can reduce the pressure and respond to the needs of students today.”

Many dates for standardized testing have been cancelled this spring and it is unclear whether the tests scheduled for the summer will take place as planned. High schools, where the tests take place, are closed in most areas and students are limited to remote classes and accessing only those school resources that are available online.

According to Curvin, Middlebury’s adoption of a test-optional approach had been under discussion for a year, and current events confirmed that now was the time to pursue it. “As we continue to work towards a more equitable admissions process, we seek to clear obstacles that might prevent students from applying, especially right now when students face other hurdles in their home community due to the pandemic,” she added.

Under Middlebury’s previous test-flexible policy, students could submit either the SAT, ACT, or three SAT Subject Tests. Under the new policy, if students choose to submit test scores, Middlebury will continue to accept these three options. Students who choose not to submit test scores will be given full and equal consideration.

Curvin noted that announcing the policy allows high school juniors, their families, and college counselors to know now what steps are required for Middlebury’s admissions process this fall.

Before making the change, Curvin consulted with the College’s Admissions Advisory Committee, including its four faculty members, and with Middlebury President Laurie Patton, who gave it her full support. The three-year trial period will allow the College to gather data and monitor progress.

Applications will continue to be evaluated holistically based on a number of criteria, including grades, recommendations, extra-curricular activities, essays, and jobs.