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Undergraduate Admissions

Frog Blog

Two male and one female students sharing a table while studying in a common area on campus

As our nation protects the health of its citizens through shelter-in-place orders and physical distancing, ACT and SAT spring test dates have been canceled while many high schools have responded by offering courses on a pass/no credit basis. As a result, college-bound high school juniors face uncertainty on how their college applications will be reviewed.

To assuage concerns, TCU has suspended the standardized testing requirement and will be test-optional for the high school class of 2021. International students whose native language is not English will still be required to take TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or Duolingo. Students may still submit ACT or SAT results if they choose, but will not be adversely impacted if they opt out. Moreover, students who choose not to submit test scores will still be considered for academic scholarship, as well.

TCU has always applied a holistic approach to application review, never relying on a single data point. As TCU professors know their students by name in the classroom, TCU applicants are considered for admission by more than a GPA or test score. We will continue to evaluate students contextually. For students whose high schools enact a Pass/No Credit policy for final grades, TCU will focus its academic review on curricular choices and narrative accounts provided by teachers and counselors.

We should not underestimate the significant challenges students now face. Between caring for their physical and mental wellbeing and navigating the transition to online instruction – more difficult for students with intermittent or no internet access and students with certain learning differences – students should not have to worry about the added stress of standardized exams. This is especially true given the uncertainty of future test dates. Instead, students should focus on their safety and successfully shifting to a new educational modality.

Our applicants sometimes wonder why it takes time to notify students of our decisions. Time is necessary when a university receives more than 20,000 applications and every essay is read and every transcript is reviewed. The qualities that matter most to us – personal character and the ability to meaningfully engage with community – can’t be found by looking at a test score. In spite of current conditions, our Horned Frog family continues to thrive by leaning on the values of character and community established nearly 150 years ago.


Heath I. Einstein

Dean of Admission