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BVU Will Not Require ACT, SAT for Admission in 2021

April 21, 2020 12:55pm

Buena Vista University will not require the ACT nor the SAT exam for admission to the University for the high school Class of 2021, an outcome of the University’s adoption of a test-optional approach to admission that had been under consideration for some time.

“Based on our mission of Education for Service, BVU seeks to break down barriers to a college education by helping all students through a holistic application review,” says Kevin McIntyre, Vice President for Enrollment Management. “BVU is committed to Northwest Iowa and the surrounding region and seeks to support more first-generation students achieve their dream of a college education. We understand exams don’t always paint the full picture of a student’s academic record, so we want to do all we can to ensure that all students feel welcome in applying.”

ACT and SAT tests across the country were canceled this spring, the result of the highly contagious coronavirus. BVU and its online and hybrid programs seek to extend that practice for the foreseeable future as well.

That said, students who have already taken the SAT or the ACT may report those scores to BVU for use in admission applications.

“At BVU, we have enjoyed a long history of cooperation with both the ACT and SAT organizations for the admission of undergraduates to the University,” McIntyre continues. “However, we believe that foregoing the standardized testing ritual provides us another measure in which we may help safeguard the safety and wellbeing of future students.”

BVU officials, he notes, will continue to rely on barometers highlighting academic success, including high school grade point average, class rank, and more in applications that don’t require a fee or an essay. Students learn of their acceptance within two weeks.

By adopting a test-optional method of qualification, however, BVU can go beyond those benchmarks to examine a student’s record of service in the community and at work conduct interviews with local school and civic leaders, and push past data that arises from standardized tests.

“We understand our students often go above and beyond both inside and outside their high school classrooms,” McIntyre says. “Standardized tests simply don’t always reflect the fact that a student is college ready.”

Together, these measures will be used not only in determining admission to BVU, but in qualifying and awarding scholarships and grants that comprise aggressive financial aid packages that have resulted in national acclaim for the University.

One-hundred-percent of students seeking financial aid at Buena Vista University receive financial aid. U.S. News and World Report has frequently cited BVU as a Top Value school in its prestigious national rankings system. Most recently, BVU was ranked No. 4 in the 2020 U.S. News and World Report Best Value School Among Regional Universities in the Midwest. The ranking among 69 Midwest Universities is 28 spots ahead of the closest Iowa institution in this category.

In 2019, every member of the Storm Lake campus graduating class earned a job or a graduate/medical school appointment in the career field of their choice, an all-time high for the University.

For more information about Buena Vista University and its 64 majors, more than 50 service clubs and activities on our lakeshore campus in Storm Lake, or for details on BVU’s new four-year fully online degree program, visit

(thanks to Tim Gallagher)