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Rather Than ACT/SAT Scores, USU Will Look At 'Academic Rigor' For 2021 Scholarships


Since accessing standardized testing has been a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic, Utah State University will not be requiring test scores for scholarship applications. Instead, officials will look at GPA and academic rigor. 

“We've come up with a comprehensive scholarship review process, where we look at where we normally look at a GPA in an ACT or SAT  score, we're now going to look at GPA and then the academic rigor of classes that they've been taking in high school. And we'll make scholarship decisions based on that GPA and academic rigor," said Katie North, the Executive Director of New Student Enrollment at USU. She said this will take more work than previous scholarship review and they are still discussing how this will all be accomplished. 

North encourages students to still take the SAT or ACT because if they meet the required index they can guarantee the award. She said the comprehensive review will err on the side of favoring the student, however there is still a set budget of scholarship money to allocate. 


North said research indicates GPA is often a better indicator of success in college than SAT or ACT scores. She is pleased with some of the improvements because it will encourage students to take more challenging classes. 

"(Student's ask) 'Well, why should I take AP history instead of being a teacher's aide? From a teacher's aide, I can get an A, and that helps my scholarship chances,'" North said. "And before now, when I looked at a straight GPA and an ACT, that's a hard argument to make. As we move forward, it's great to be able to say, 'Well, if your student is taking the extra classes, whether it's concurrent enrollment, whether it's AP or honors, those types of classes, not only do they become more academically prepared, but it's also going to help them in scholarships.'”