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Colleges still count Community Service

A historically black college has changed its admissions policy to include not just testing, but the leadership and community service involvement by students when in high school.

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – With the final approval from University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s president Heidi Anderson, the historically black college moved forward with plans to implement a test-optional policy for high school applicants.

“Going test-optional allows us not just to look at the traditional one-sided lens of how you do on some standardized test. Now, we’re putting the power back into the hands of the student to allow them to define themselves,” said Enrollment Management and Student Experience Vice President Hans Cooper.

So what exactly does going test-optional mean? Instead of relying solely on an applicants test scores from the SAT or ACT,  UMES’ Admissions team will now take a students performance over the last four years in high school and what they’ve done into consideration.

“We can now look at things such as what research endeavors have you done while you were in high school? What type of community service did you have? What type of leadership strengths have you displayed in your past years?” said Cooper.

Students say this new policy is a game changer and takes a huge weight off the shoulders of future applicants.

“I think that’s a great thing for UMES’ [Class of 2024] coming in so you don’t have to stress about an ACT or SAT ,” said UMES junior, Jahad Martin. Others tell 47 ABC the change will give students the opportunity to stand out.

“Students are sometimes defined just by a number on a paper and I’m one of those strong believers that standardized tests don’t always measure a student’s actual abilities. There’s a lot of things that goes into a student that a student can bring to the table more than just that number that’s on a piece of paper,” said UMES sophomore, KJ Gregory.

And university officials say by removing these test requirements, they’re able to give students better access to education.

“Now they’re defined by their four years of excellent academic work, they’re defined now by their four years of leadership in their high school, or they’re defined simply by the leadership they displayed in their community service,” said Cooper.

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