University of Dubuque to Become Test-Optional for Undergraduate Admission

Jul 21, 2020 | University Relations staff

DUBUQUE, Iowa – In recognition of challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and a desire for a more holistic admission policy, University of Dubuque will become a test-optional institution for undergraduate admission and eliminate its $25 application fee.

Beginning with students entering January 2021, UD will make reporting ACT or SAT scores optional in its admission application process for all undergraduate programs.

“This decision brings a significant change to the University’s undergraduate admission process. By permanently removing the ACT and SAT requirement, as well as the application fee, we are removing barriers for all prospective students. A college education will be accessible to many more students as a result. This is an incredible step toward aligning our admission policy with the University’s overall mission of educating students from all backgrounds,” said Robert Broshous, associate vice president and dean of admission.

UD currently practices a test neutral strategy in which test scores are required before matriculation but students may be accepted before reporting test scores.

In the past, standardized test scores were used to help place students in the appropriate first-year English and mathematics courses. However, last summer UD began to move to a holistic placement approach using a combination of high school courses, grades, extracurricular activities, and personal interviews to place students. The result was higher completion rates in first-year courses.

“Research consistently shows that a holistic approach to assessing student work – evaluating things like the type of high school courses taken, grades, extracurricular activities, and personal interviews – is most effective in determining students’ best path to success. We believe that we can better serve our students by focusing on the totality of their high school experience,” said Mark Ward, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.

Applications are being accepted for spring and fall 2021 semesters. To apply online or request more information, please visit

“I’m excited that students who apply for admission will know that they are more than their test scores. University of Dubuque values academic achievement, but we also put a premium on strength of character, knack for overcoming adversity, and grit to forsake the beaten path in favor of one that feels true,” Broshous said.