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Important Updates and Changes for the 2020-21 Admission Cycle (for Fall 2021 enrollment)

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has created an unpredictable and challenging environment for applying to college next yearWith this in mind we are doing our best to be flexible and are available to answer any questions you, your family or our counselors might have. This FAQ is designed to provide answers to some of the questions we are fielding most frequently, but please feel free to contact us anytime at apply@olin.edu. 

Consistent with guidance from the CDC and state health agencies, both the College Board and the ACT have cancelled spring 2020 testing dates. It is unclear what, if any, testing opportunities will be available in the fall, thus it is likely that many well-qualified students may not have the opportunity to take either the SAT or the ACT prior to our application deadline. In light of this, we are temporarily suspending our standardized test requirement for the 2020-21 application cycle. Any applicant may submit SAT or ACT test scores; these scores will be an optional component of the application. Students who do not submit test scores will not be penalized nor will they be at a disadvantage in Olin’s application process. All applications will continue to be evaluated through Olin’s holistic review process which includes academic performance and optional testing, if submitted, as well as the applicant’s talents, experiences, character and potential contributions to the college and community. Olin’s highly personalized application reading process takes into account the context and environment of the applicant’s academic experience.  

Will I be at a disadvantage by not submitting any scores?

No. Students will not be penalized nor will they be at a disadvantage in the application process if they do not submit any test scores.

I have PSAT scores.  Can I submit those instead of the SAT? 

Any applicant may submit supplement scores from the PSAT, SAT subject tests, AP tests or IB exams. These scores may provide additional information or context for the academic review, but they are not required. Students may self-report their scores.

If a testing date for either the SAT or ACT is available in the fall, should I take the test and submit those scores?

You may test and submit the scores if you wish, but it’s not necessary.

If you don’t have test scores, how will you evaluate my application?

All applications will continue to be evaluated through Olin’s holistic review process which includes academic performance and testing if available, as well as the applicant’s talents, experiences, character and potential contributions to the college and community. We have historically used standardized test scores to provide added context and perspective when evaluating the student’s high school record. Test scores have been one metric which may help to lend confidence in a student’s ability to be successful in the Olin curriculum. Test scores have never been used in isolation or without reference to the strength of the school, the rigor of the curriculum and the grades that a student has earned. 

If I do submit my scores, how will my application be evaluated?

At Olin, we practice holistic admission. Holistic admission means that when we evaluate an applicant, we look at all parts of their application in order to understand the whole person. So there is not a specific formula for success in the Olin admission process. We understand that every applicant is unique and may bring different valuable characteristics and experiences to the table. Therefore, we do not make decisions based on one or two factors alone. Everything we ask for in the application process is considered carefully, thoroughly, and thoughtfully, with an eye to understanding each applicant’s potential to contribute as a member of the Olin community, as well as to grow and learn from the Olin experience.  Test scores sometimes provide another measure by which to evaluate a student’s mastery of subject matter which can, in turn, indicate the likelihood of success in the Olin curriculum.

I will be applying during the 2021-22 Application Cycle, for enrollment in 2022. Will I have to submit test scores if I apply to Olin?

Our decision to suspend testing requirements is temporary and applicable to the 2020-21 application cycle only.

My classes will be pass/fail this spring or have been canceled for the remainder of the year. Will this impact my ability to be admitted to Olin in the future?

Many schools have moved to pass/fail grading, and we realize that remote learning is very different from in-person learning. We will take all of this information into consideration when reviewing applications, particularly for the next two cycles. Our application process is holistic and personal, and we always review applications (even in normal circumstances), carefully and thoroughly. And the majority of high school students have had some disruption so know you are not alone!

The IB exams are cancelled and AP exams are shifting dramatically. How will these testing changes impact my offer of admission?

Olin does not require AP or IB exams scores as part of our admission process, nor do we offer credit for such courses. 

Should you choose to forego the redesigned AP exam, it will not impact your course choices at Olin. If you plan to take courses at Babson or Wellesley, you may wish to consult their AP and IB credit charts to see how AP or IB exam scores may impact placement in their courses. Please visit the Babson and Wellesley pages specifically to review their credit charts.