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FAQ Test Optional

We have always believed in a holistic approach to admissions that takes many different factors about a student into account. Starting with admission for the fall 2020 academic year, academically-gifted prospective students with cumulative GPAs of 3.25 or higher may choose to apply to Simpson without submitting their SAT or ACT scores. Our focus is to learn more about you and your potential for success in our Liberal Arts curriculum.

  • What does holistic review mean and why does Simpson make submitting test scores optional for students with a 3.25 or higher GPA?
    • Simpson’s holistic review of all applications allows us to learn more about each applicant and the potential they have to contribute academically in the classroom as well as within the Simpson community.  Each application is reviewed on an individual basis and read in its entirety.  Emphasis is on the courses taken and success in a rigorous curriculum.
  • Why is Simpson College offering a test optional pathway in the application process?
    • This pathway is designed for students who perform well in the classroom but do not feel their test scores adequately reflect their academic abilities.
  • How do students indicate whether or not they want test scores considered in the admission process?
    • When completing the application for admission, students will be able to indicate whether or not they’d like their test scores to be considered for admission.
  • How will Simpson evaluate students who don’t submit test scores?
    • Students will be evaluated by their success in the classroom as evident on their high school transcript and other (optional) supporting materials. Success in the classroom will be determined by performance in core, Advanced Placement, and dual-enrollment courses as well as extra-curricular engagement and leadership in those activities.
  • What are core courses?
    • The Office of Admissions encourages 4 years of English, 3+ years of math, 3+ years of science, 3+ years of social science, and 2+ years of foreign language. While these courses are not required, they are encouraged as they best prepare students for our Liberal Arts curriculum.
  • May I submit additional materials in support of my application?
    • Yes. The Office of Admissions encourages (but does require) students to submit at least one of the optional essay prompts on the application and complete an Educator Recommendation form.
  • Is an interview required for admission?
    • No. All students are strongly encouraged to visit campus and meet with their admissions counselor. This is the best way for us to learn more about you and your educational goals.
  • If I have a 3.25 or higher GPA, why would I submit test scores?
    • Students may decide their test scores complement their academic record and provide additional information regarding their academic potential. Test scores are required for the Cowles Fellowship and George Washington Carver Fellowship.
  • What if my ACT/SAT scores were sent to Simpson when I took the test and/or are included on my transcripts?
    • When a student decides on their application that they’d like to apply without test scores, all test scores will be redacted and not considered by our admissions committee.
  • Who is required to submit test scores?
    • Students who meet at least one of the following criteria are required to submit test scores:
      • Obtained a cumulative high school GPA below 3.25
      • Plan to apply as a homeschooled student
      • Plan to apply as an international student 
      • Wish to be considered for the Cowles Fellowship or George Washington Carver Fellowship
  • Can I change my decision to submit/not submit test scores at any point in the admission process?
    • No.
  • Will I still be considered for academic scholarships if I choose not to submit test scores?
    • Yes.  All admitted students will automatically be considered for merit-based scholarships.


If you have additional questions, please contact the Office at Admissions at 515-961-1624 or admiss@simpson.edu.