LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Another Kentucky University is making the switch to test-optional applications, meaning potential students will get to decide whether or not they want to submit standardized test scores. Bellarmine University announced applicants for fall 2021 will be the first to have that option.

Student Jack Dwyer applauds his university for the move.

"The SAT isn't the greatest judge of a person's skill to perform in an academic setting," Dwyer said.

His thought mirrors that of Bellarmine's vice president of enrollment, marketing, and communication Dr. Michael Marshall.

"Both nationally and at Bellarmine, we've learned that standardized tests are not the full measure of talent and potential of every student. We want prospective students from all walks of life to know that we're committed to a thoughtful, personalized evaluation of each candidate to understand and appreciate intrinsic dignity," Marshall said.

DuPont Manual High guidance counselor Amy Medley said some students who make good grades, simply don't test well.

"Research tells us that the best predictor of student success at the college level is going to be the grades and courses they took in high school that are either college prep work or college-level work in high school. That is still the best predictor of how a student will do," Medley said.

Colleges and universities already consider things other than standardized tests. For example, high school transcripts, essays, recommendations, activities, work experience, and leadership all play a role.

Many of the test-optional colleges and universities across the country will ask for other materials like a graded essay. Jefferson County Schools prepares students for those types of submission requests through the Backpack for Success Skills program. It requires students to hold on to some of those types of materials.

"It is a great place for students to warehouse documents they would like to show a potential employer or college," Medley said.

A statement from Bellarmine University adds that standardized tests tend to reward people who can afford to take the test multiple times and get test preparation services. Medley said removing that barrier has increased the number of applicants from minority and gap groups at other test-optional universities across the country.

Even when Bellarmine makes the move in 2021, some students will still have to share their scores, including homeschooled students, international students and those seeking certain scholarships like the university's Honors Program.

Bellarmine is not alone in this switch, as test-optional is a growing trend across the country. Here in Kentucky, Transylvania University is already testing optional and Spalding University is making the switch starting this fall.