With millions of high-school and college students now studying from home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Pomona College is adopting a test optional policy for first-year and transfer students applying for admission for entry in Fall 2021.

The change is meant to assist applicants during a challenging time, says Seth Allen, vice president for strategy & dean of admissions and financial aid, noting that not only have many standardized testing dates this spring have been canceled, but there is a lack of clarity for how the pandemic may impact summer and fall administrations of standardized testing as well.

The college’s faculty voted yesterday to support the change. “Given the amount of uncertainty and anxiety in the world as we deal with the COVID-19 crisis, this is the right thing to do for students who will be applying to colleges next school year,” says Allen.

This one-year policy means SAT or ACT scores are not required for applicants for first-year or transfer admission, though students may still choose to submit them.

The Office of Admissions will continue to place emphasis on academic achievement, leadership and extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation from teachers and counselors. The submission of arts supplements and completing an alumni interview continue to be optional components of the Pomona application.

The College’s selection process will remain thorough and comprehensive, notes Assistant Vice President and Director of Admissions Adam Sapp. “We use a multi-factor review process and make decisions via committee,” he says. “It has always been our goal to admit students who we know will flourish at Pomona—this one-year test optional policy will not change that.”

For recently admitted first-year and transfer students, the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid has developed a number of policies designed to support engagement and enrollment. A full list of all programs and policies is available online.

Pomona College continues to take measures to support public health efforts in response to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This includes moving to online instruction and providing significant financial support to students in need of direct assistance to remain healthy and safe.