Stephen Pickrom | Staff Writer

Admissions to Florida Tech graduate programs in the upcoming academic year will not require test scores from graduate exams.

Testing centers for the GMAT, GRE, and other exams are harder to access due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Vice President for Enrollment Management Brian Ehrlich.

“They’re scheduled less frequently and there’s less testing centers as well, so there’s a complete access problem,” he said.

To remedy this issue, Florida Tech made the decision to make exams optional for those applying to graduate programs in the 2021-22 academic year.

Normally, a set of documents and information, including test scores, is required to submit to the admissions office, so that it can then be sent to that program’s academic department.

“The admissions office, at the graduate level, gathers the information and then makes sure it’s all there, but we don’t actually make the decision,” Ehrlich said.

For graduate programs, the admission decision comes from the academic department itself. This differs from undergraduate programs at Florida Tech, where the admissions department makes the decision.

Ehrlich stressed that an important part of the process was making sure all students are treated fairly when they send their information to the department heads.

“We want complete fairness and complete transparency in the process,” Ehrlich said.

The admissions department was concerned that, should two students who are otherwise the same apply for a program, one that has test scores and the other that does not, department heads would gravitate toward the student with test scores because there is more information.

Ehrlich posed the question, “What’s going to happen? Is that person able to be impartial?”

“Now, there’s chances that they could be,” he said, “But to make it truly fair, we don’t transmit test scores so that when the faculty member sees that file, they see the exact same thing for every student.”

This decision only affects the next academic year. The admissions department is looking further ahead, to see if not requiring exams will be a lasting change. They want to see how students do when they apply without test scores and if they succeed in the programs.

“That allows us to use good data to make an informed decision,” Ehrlich said.

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