Bellarmine University goes ‘test-optional’ for undergrad admission in 2021

February 10, 2020

Beginning with students enrolling for the 2021-22 academic year, Bellarmine University will allow candidates for undergraduate admission to complete their application without submitting their standardized test scores.
“Both nationally and at Bellarmine, we’ve learned that standardized tests are not the full measure of the talent and potential of every student,” said Dr. Michael J. Marshall, Bellarmine’s vice president of enrollment, marketing and communication. “We want prospective students from all walks of life to know that we’re committed to a thoughtful, personalized evaluation of each candidate to understand and appreciate their intrinsic dignity.”
Marshall noted that three key priorities in Bellarmine’s new strategic plan — access and affordability, equity and inclusion, and expansion and diversity in enrollment — informed the decision to go test-optional.
When prospective undergraduate students start their application for fall 2021 admission, they will choose whether or not to share their SAT or ACT scores with Bellarmine. Regardless of test-optional status, Bellarmine will continue to consider a variety of factors in evaluating candidates, including high school grades, counselor recommendations, curriculum, student employment, leadership experiences, and activities and involvement. Considered together alongside an interview with an admission counselor, Marshall said these factors are good indicators of a student’s likelihood of success at Bellarmine.
Prospective students with questions about the value of submitting their test scores can speak with a Bellarmine admission counselor before finalizing their application. More information is also available online at
To ensure a thorough evaluation, some students will still have to share their scores, including homeschooled students, international students who primarily speak a language other than English, and those seeking certain scholarships, such as the university’s Honors Program. However, students’ test-optional choice won’t affect their eligibility for the university’s primary merit-based scholarships.
While student-athletes are not required to submit their scores for admission consideration, they must submit a score to the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Bellarmine is an inclusive Catholic university that educates students—mind, body, and spirit—for meaningful lives, rewarding careers, ethical leadership, and service to improve the human condition.

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