Bellarmine University / Admissions / Test-Optional Admission

Test-Optional Admission

At Bellarmine, we take a thoughtful look at all prospective students, with every application reviewed by hand. Finding the right fit has always been key. We want to admit students who will succeed and thrive at Bellarmine.

Beginning with students applying to start college in fall 2021, Bellarmine will become a “test-optional” school for undergraduate admission. That means that when you apply to Bellarmine, you may choose to withhold your standardized test scores. We will evaluate your application based on your high school record, your experiences, your engagement and other relevant factors. Of course, if you want to submit your scores, we will still include them in our evaluation. Note that there are some exceptions on the test-optional policy, including homeschooled students, student-athletes, international students with a native language other than English and students applying for select scholarships; please review the FAQ below.

There is a growing body of evidence that standardized tests like the SAT and ACT do not fully reflect the academic talents of every student. We want to thoughtfully evaluate all applicants to ensure that a unique Bellarmine education is available to every qualified student, and we don’t need your standardized test score to do that.

Deciding whether to share your test scores

Not sure whether to share your SAT or ACT score? You might be surprised to learn that standardized test scores are not a leading predictor of college success. A student’s curriculum and high school GPA are the best indicators of whether or not a student will succeed at Bellarmine. During our undergraduate admission process, we consider high school GPA, academic rigor of high school courses, extracurricular involvement, letters of recommendation and much more. Historically, standardized test results have been just one part of that process.

Some students do well in the classroom but not on standardized tests. If you have good grades in challenging classes but your standardized test scores don’t reflect that, you might want to withhold them. On the other hand, if you believe your scores reflect your ability, submit them.

Still unsure? Please contact your admission counselor to talk it over. Or, if you’ve decided what you want to do, Apply Now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I apply without submitting my standardized test scores?
A: Simply choose “test-optional” on your application, beginning with admissions for the 2021-22 school year. If you submitted your scores before applying and choose to apply with test-optional status, we will remove your test scores from consideration. 

Q: How does the evaluation process work if I don’t submit my score?
A: At Bellarmine, we’ve always looked at each student’s academic experience and other relevant background to inform our admission decisions. Examples include high school grades, counselor recommendations, curriculum, employment, leadership experiences and more. We have always wanted to see the big picture, not just one score, and your admission interview is a great opportunity for that conversation. If you decide to apply without your test score, we simply remove that factor from our consideration.

Q: Will it count against me if I withhold my scores?
A: No. We will rely on your other achievements in making a decision. If you have any questions, speak to your admission counselor.

Q: Will withholding my scores affect my eligibility for merit-based scholarships?
A: Merit scholarships do not require a student to submit a test score. If you have a test score you believe enhances your review for scholarships, then you may want to submit it. Some endowed scholarships may require a test score..

Q: Can I change my mind after I apply?
A: At the time you apply, you’ll need to decide whether you’re applying with or without your test scores. You will not be able to change your mind after you apply. If your scores were submitted to Bellarmine before you applied, you can ask to have them deleted when you submit your application.

Q. Are any applicants required to submit standardized test scores?
A. To ensure we have enough information to make a decision, we still require test scores from some applicants.

Home-schooled students are still required to submit either an ACT or SAT score.

* While home-schooled students are typically unable to apply test-optional, in response to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, the 2020-2021 application process will be test-optional for home-schooled applicants.

International students with a native language other than English are required to submit their TOEFL, IELTS or MELAB scores. International students may also submit an ACT or SAT to complete their application in place of the TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB.

Q. Are recruited student-athletes allowed to apply test-optional?
A. Prospective student-athletes are not required to submit an ACT or SAT score to Bellarmine for consideration for admission or academic merit scholarships.