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In an effort to make the application process for undergraduate admission easier for prospective students and their families during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will make submitting standardized test scores (ACT/SAT) optional for the fall 2021 admissions cycle.

UT’s application process will open August 1. Testing companies and centers have suspended testing during the pandemic, making it more difficult for students to submit a complete application.

“We are working to be compassionate, creative, and flexible with our current and future students in extraordinary circumstances,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “Future Vols should not have to put off their college education or choose another university because they lack access to standardized testing.”

Universities across the country are increasingly making standardized test scores optional, particularly for the fall 2021 admissions cycle. The application will give students the ability to showcase both academic and nonacademic talents.

“College preparedness can be displayed in a variety of ways,” said Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Director of Undergraduate Admissions Fabrizio D’Aloisio. “Factors like leadership, community engagement, critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and resilience speak volumes to how ready students are for college life.”

University officials will review the results of this year’s process and make a determination about extending it beyond the 2021 admissions cycle.

“We have always placed value upon the whole student, beyond singular measures such as test scores, and now we have an opportunity to reinforce that to 2021 applicants,” said D’Aloisio.

Students can still choose to submit ACT or SAT test scores if they believe their scores adequately reflect their academic achievements and college preparedness. UT will continue to use a holistic review process to evaluate college readiness and a student’s preparation to contribute in positive ways to the campus community.

Applicants will be considered regardless of test score submissions for Honors and Scholars programs and many scholarships if their application is submitted and completed by the appropriate deadline.

More details about changes to the admissions process are available on the Office of Undergraduate Admissions website.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,

Lauren Rucker (865-974-0749,