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UMES announces new testing admissions' policy

  • Tuesday, October 8, 2019

    The University of Maryland Eastern Shore announced today it is implementing a “test-optional” admissions policy for applicants whose high school transcripts show they have strong academic credentials.

    UMES will "conduct a one-year pilot study using standardized tests as an optional criterion for admission
    for first-year students whose overall high school minimum grade point averages of 3.4 ... effective Fall
    2020," President Heidi M. Anderson wrote in a presentation to the University System of Maryland's governing board. "It is important to note ... this policy change would still require all students to submit their test scores,
    even if they are not used as admissions criteria."

    UMES will collect data during the pilot year, and in the Fall 2021 will submit a report of its findings to the USM Board of Regents.

    “As a historically black, doctoral research institution,” she said, “the university has long embraced its role as a place that creates greater opportunity and access to a quality college education. This new policy supports not only our students, but reinforces our founding mission.”  

    UMES' internal student-performance tracking shows admitted students with a high school GPA of 3.4 or higher demonstrate higher persistence and 6-year graduation rates than their peers.  

    Hans Cooper, UMES' vice president for enrollment management and student experience, said the university is embracing an emerging trend in higher education to put greater weight on classroom performance when making admissions decisions.  

    “We take a comprehensive approach to the review process and allow students to submit materials that best represent them and their potential,” Cooper said. “We believe four years of strong performance in a rigorous high school curriculum is a great measure of their future success.”  

    UMES joins more than 1,000 accredited colleges and universities with some form of a test-optional policy, including Hampton (Va.) University, University of Delaware and Salisbury University.  

    It is important to note, Cooper said, test scores will still be required for consideration for acceptance into the university's Henson honors program, selected majors as well as NCAA teams.

    This article was updated Nov. 22, 2019


    About the University of Maryland Eastern Shore

    The University of Maryland Eastern Shore, founded in 1886, is a historically black, Carnegie-classified doctoral research, land-grant institution offering more than 90 academic programs and concentrations leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate.  UMES provides affordable access to higher education while developing innovative technology and research in key fields like agriculture, science, pharmacy and engineering.  For more information, visit www.umes.edu.