North Dakota University System updating admission requirements for first-year applicants

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 9:00 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Standardized tests are not something students typically enjoy. Luckily for some, the state is changing some of the requirements first-year students need for their college application process. Depending on the courses they’re looking to take, students might not have to submit ACT or SAT scores.

At Bismarck State College, students will still be required to take standardized testing for certain placement tests depending on the courses they choose to take, but it won’t hinder their ability to get into a school because of a low score on an ACT or SAT.

“Pre-COVID we required placement exams before a student was accepted at Bismarck State College and across the North Dakota University system we all did,” said Karen Erickson, dean of enrollment management at Bismarck State College.

Course placement in English and math classes are still required at some schools and students are still encouraged to take the tests for a scholarship, like the North Dakota scholars program.

“This has been on our radar within the North Dakota University System, I would say for approximately two years, almost three years,” said Claire Gunwall, director of academic affairs & workforce innovation with the North Dakota University System.

The rules are in place so students can attain academic success and also have pre-college courses available so they can gauge where they’re at.

“Placement exams allow us to place students in classes that they’ll be most successful in and so we don’t want to put a student in a course that’s too easy for them, and then likewise we don’t want a to put a student in a course that’s too hard for them,” said Erickson.

At BSC they’ve seen fewer students submit ACT scores at this point to admissions.

“And it just took us a while to kind of work through those processes and try to decide what is the best alternative for our admission requirements to see that our students are going to succeed throughout the states,” said Gunwall.

This new admission standard will take effect on August 1 at the 11 schools in the North Dakota University System.

During the last legislative session, the state decided to no longer pay for all ACT tests for juniors unless the school districts are using the test as an “accountability tool”.