MNSU temporarily drops ACT requirement due to COVID

Jenna Peterson ® News Editor |

As high school seniors think about their future plans — whether they continue their education or go straight into the work force — it’s important to think about ACT scores and what those scores mean for them.

Minnesota State University, Mankato, has looked over their testing score policies and have made some changes. With COVID changing the course of everyone’s life, this is no different.

MNSU Admissions Officer Rachel Hoehn was able to discuss the university’s changing requirements and how the admissions process for incoming students is being adjusted. 

For the freshman classes of fall 2020 and 2021, the ACT score was waived off the university application form. This is due to the difficulty of students being able to access ACT testing sites.

“We understand these difficult times and we want to be able to help out our students. It’s almost impossible for students to access these testing sites, so it doesn’t make sense to require it,” Hoehn commented.

Although ACT test scores aren’t being used at the moment, Hoehn talked about why these scores have been used through the years to help determine a student’s acceptance. These scores can help determine which class a student should take in order to understand the material being taught, with the main focus on math and English. If a student’s score is high enough, they can opt out of the lower classes and take higher-level classes, helping them get closer to their graduation goal.

Hoehn personally conducted a study on ACT scores and if they were helpful or not, and she concluded that they’re not the most important thing that colleges should be looking at.

“I’ve learned that these test scores are not the number one tool for admission, but rather the class grades and GPA of the student are more important. These help represent the student’s academic skills because they look over their whole high school career, not just a few hours’ worth of knowledge crammed into one test,” Hoehn noted.

Students aren’t fans of the ACT, either.

“I don’t think these tests should be used for college acceptance,” said Julia Bolssen, an junior at MNSU. “Standardized testing isn’t an accurate representation of a student’s success.”

Senior Johnathan Van Eck said, “I’m not sure about these required tests. I’d have to learn more information before giving an opinion.”

Hoehn has been working with the administration office for four years. During that time the minimum required ACT score has been a 21. This year is the only time this requirement has been changed. This change will stay in effect for as long as the pandemic is around, but Hoehn believes that if things go back to normal and COVID is no longer an issue, then the university might again require an ACT score on a student’s application.

The average MNSU student scored between a 21 and 24 on the ACT, which may seem about the same, if not a little lower, compared to other Minnesota State colleges. Hoehn talked about these scores as a way to show the university isn’t looking to turn away students, but instead to show them that doing the average is acceptable.

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