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No Test Option FAQ

We’re test optional. Here’s what you need to know.

When did UMass Lowell introduce a No Test option?

In 2015, UMass Lowell was the first public school in New England to go test optional. Our No Test Option is available to students applying now.

Why has UMass Lowell gone test optional?

It’s better for students. Standardized tests can provide a useful snapshot, but they are just one indicator of a student’s potential. The outcome of one test shouldn’t disqualify a great student from studying here.

Are you lowering your standards?

Not even a little. UMass Lowell will continue to increase selectivity as we grow. We want to enroll the best students, and the No Test Option is in line with that philosophy.

Will the No Test Option make it easier or harder for me to qualify for admission?

We cannot give a one-size-fits-all answer here. Choose the option that best reflects you. If you aren’t sure, ask your college counselor for advice.

Applicants who scored a 1120 or higher on the SAT or 23 or higher on the ACT are good candidates to submit test scores as part of the application process.

Applicants applying under the No Test Option should have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and evidence of outstanding academic success throughout high school.

Applicants with a 3.0 GPA or better, with SAT or ACT scores below our suggested minimum scores are strongly encouraged to consider applying as a No Test applicant.

How do I participate in the No Test Option?

Just choose the No Test Option on your application.

Students can complete a form to request to change to the No Test Option. Requests to change from a test submitting student to the No Test Option must be made prior to notification of an admission decision.

Our admissions committee would like to offer you an opportunity to support your No Test Option application by submitting an additional 250-550 word essay that offers insights into your personal experience and background. Although an additional essay is not required, we would appreciate the opportunity to learn more about you and your potential contributions to the university. You may choose one of the following options:

  1. Education happens inside and outside the classroom. Describe how an activity or community you are involved in (a workplace, a community-based organization, a church group, etc.) has helped shape your character.
  2. Describe an instance in your academic career where you have successfully engaged with support services to make a meaningful difference in your life.
  3. What specific characteristics make a leader effective? Please share with us how you are a leader in your home, school or community.
  4. What is it about UMass Lowell that compelled you to apply for admission and how do you see yourself being a contributing member to our campus community?
  5. Describe your experience, motivation, or character traits that will allow you to be a successful student at UMass Lowell.
  6. In lieu of responding to one of the aforementioned essay prompts, you are welcome to submit a graded sample of your academic work. The length of your writing sample should be approximately 250-500 words and exemplify your best work.
Can I be considered for merit scholarships without submitting standardized test scores?

Yes. Students will be automatically considered for a scholarship when reviewed for admission.

Can anyone select the No Test Option?

Most applicants can, but test scores are required for some home-schooled and international applicants.

Home-school applicants with a minimum of 12 transferrable college credits are eligible to participate in No Test. Please visit our Transfer Dictionary for information on transferrable credits. Home-school applicants applying for fall 2021 admission with less than 12 transferrable college credits may appeal the test score requirement. These applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

International first-year applicants: You may use the No Test option and waive the SAT or ACT and English proficiency exams (TOEFL, Duolingo, IELTS, Pearson Versant) if your secondary school provides written verification that the means of instruction is in English, you are enrolled in an IB curriculum, attend an international American School, or are enrolled in a curriculum that leads to Cambridge International Examinations: IGCSE/O-Level and GCE/A level exam.

Can ESL students participate in the No Test Option?

Yes, however, students must submit an English proficiency exam (TOEFL, Duolingo, IELTS, Pearson Versant or UMass Lowell English Proficiency Test) exam to demonstrate English proficiency before being considered for admission as a No Test applicant.

How will you review my application?

Whether a student chooses to send scores or not, our decision process will be similar. We focus on academic achievement, rigor of high school coursework, and what we know about your personal qualities. We will make a decision based on your whole application.

Am I eligible to participate in the Honors College if I choose the No Test Option?

Yes.

Can transfer applicants participate in the No Test Option?

Technically, yes. Transfer counselors will work directly with applicants who fall into this category. Please contact Transfer Admissions by email at: transfer@uml.edu.

I'm thinking of applying as a No Test applicant for nursing. What should I be thinking about?

Admission for nursing is uniquely competitive, however we do accept No Test applications to our nursing program.

Given the competitive reality of nursing admission, we need to manage our application pool for nursing differently than the general application pool. One of the ways we do this is by requiring nursing applicants to apply by the November 5 Early Action I deadline.

Another way we manage this application pool is by elevating the criteria for admission based on the strength of the application pool and based on our enrollment goals. Because those variables change from year to year, we cannot provide a specific minimum threshold for GPA for consideration for nursing, but we can say that the suggested minimum of a 3.0 is likely to be significantly less than the actual GPA we will be able to consider for nursing. In prior years, a 3.5-3.75 has been a realistic range for minimum consideration as a No Test applicant. Nursing students can use this range as a reasonable expectation to help decide if applying No Test is right for you.

The UMass Lowell Office of Undergraduate Admissions remains committed to a fair application review process. Please feel free to contact us at admissions@uml.edu if you have any further questions or concerns.