Canisius College adopts a no-examination admissions policy | Tech US News


Canisius College is eliminating standardized test scores as a factor in college admissions, removing a barrier that can make college out of reach for some students, the college announced Monday.

Canisius made testing optional in March 2020 because of the pandemic, and President Steve K. Stoute maintained that policy when he took over in June as part of his plan to boost the university’s enrollment.

Canisius College's new president wants to meet students 'right where they are'

At 41, Steve K. Stoute is the youngest and first person of color to lead the college in its 150-year history. He said he would first focus on increasing enrollment, including more black students, first-generation students and new Americans.

Now, Canisius is the first university in Western New York to officially remove standardized tests (SAT and ACT) from evaluating applications, Stoute said.

The college’s own research and studies by the College Board, which offers the SAT, show that high school performance is a better predictor of future college success than standardized testing, which favors students with the highest strengths, Stoute said in a statement.

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Hundreds of schools across the country have made standardized testing optional, a trend that has accelerated during the pandemic. Others, such as the California State University system — the nation’s largest public university system — have gone a step further than Canisius in eliminating standardized testing from consideration during the admissions process.

Many schools that have dropped the testing requirement have seen an increase in applications and a greater diversity of applicants.

Canisius too. Since testing became optional, Canisius has seen an 18 percent increase in applications. Enrollment increased by 12%, including an increase in students of color from 37% to 44%.

Canisius enrolled the most diverse classes in its 152-year history in the fall of 2021 and 2022, Stoute said. International college enrollment also reached an all-time high, and the average high school GPA improved for the incoming class, he added.

Canisius College President Steve Stoute (copy)

“This new policy will remove a barrier to a high-quality Canisius education for students from all backgrounds,” said Canisius College President Steve Stoute.

File photo by Mark Mulville/Buffalo News

Stoute said the no-examination policy supports the college’s renewed commitment to social justice. Students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds who can afford tutors, prep courses and other resources naturally score higher than less privileged students from underrepresented and underfunded communities, as well as students with cognitive disabilities, he said.

“Standardized tests can even deter talented students from applying to college, denying many the opportunity to reach their full potential,” Stoute said.

“This new policy will remove a barrier to a high-quality Canisius education for students from all backgrounds,” he said. “As a Jesuit college, our faith is just, and this change will support our commitment to transforming our society by inspiring a new generation of leaders who will not accept the status quo, but will go out and redefine their field, think boldly, and act on their principles.”

Stoute, a first-generation college student who immigrated to the U.S. from his native Trinidad and Tobago to attend Seton Hall University, pledged to work for social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion during his interview for college president.

Canisius is one of 27 Jesuit colleges in the country serving the Catholic tradition of teaching care and service to humanity as leadership qualities for all disciplines.


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