GALLOWAY — Students who excel for 95 percent of the school year, but flop on standardized-test day, have another New Jersey university on their side.

Stockton University announced Wednesday it will adopt a test-optional admissions policy for new freshmen, starting with the Fall 2019 class.

"It's our hope that students who've excelled academically are going to be able to take advantage of this path to get into Stockton, whereas previously the requirement of the test presented a barrier and kept them from applying," said Bob Heinrich, the university's chief enrollment management officer.

The university's decision is the result of recommendations by a faculty senate task force, as well as research by university administration.

Heinrich said Stockton takes a comprehensive and integrated approach to reviewing applications by evaluating each student's transcript, letters of recommendation, essay, extracurricular participation, and evidence of leadership and motivation.

Once accepted, students would submit their scores or take the Accuplacer exam to determine placement for freshman math and writing courses.

SAT and ACT scores will not be required from those hoping to be accepted to the public university, but scores must be submitted by students looking to enter certain programs (health science and physics, for example) or those vying for institutional scholarships.

The university lists 23 areas of study that would require scores; the university offers more than 150 programs.

The goal, Heinrich said, is to also remove the test-score requirement for scholarship consideration.

Heinrich believes this move will result in an uptick in applications for the university. Of the applications from past cycles that are considered incomplete, he said, most are missing a standardized-test score.

In 2014, Montclair State University became the first public four-year school in New Jersey to adopt a test-optional policy. In October 2017, the university's director of undergraduate admissions said an analysis determined students on campus are performing at the same levels as they had before the new policy took effect.

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