We've Gone Test Optional

Pomfret announces test optional admissions process, starting this year.


Beginning with the 2020-21 admissions season, Pomfret will no longer require standardized test scores as part of the application process. This includes the SSAT, ISEE, PSAT, SAT, or ACT. The TOEFL will remain a requirement for international students.  Among boarding schools, Pomfret is at the forefront of the test optional movement, following similar announcements made by St. Paul's School in New Hampshire and St. George's School in Rhode Island, not to mention many of the nation's most well-respected colleges and universities.

“We have been thinking about going test optional for several years,” says Head of School Tim Richards. “With the rise of Covid-19, we felt like now was the right time to make this move.”

At Pomfret, the decision to go test optional grew out of the School’s larger commitment to developing new ways to measure student growth and achievement at every level. Standardized tests, in particular, do not fully reflect a student’s intellectual capabilities, intrinsic motivation, or potential to succeed.

“That’s why we dropped AP courses and why we’ve worked so hard to diversify our student assessment tools in recent years,” says Gwyneth Connell, who directs the Grauer Family Institute for Excellence and Innovation in Education at Pomfret.“Standardized test scores are not particularly reliable indicators of whether or not an applicant will succeed at Pomfret. So, for us, going test optional was the next logical step.”

The move away from standardized testing is also consistent with Pomfret’s commitment to equity. “Students with the means to afford test preparation may outperform otherwise highly qualified applicants whose low scores stem from a range of factors,” says Jillian Forgue, who co-directs Pomfret’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, “including learning differences and/or a lack of resources and equal access. The goal here is to level the playing field as much as possible.”

Applicants who want to submit test scores still can, as part of a holistic application package that also includes academic transcripts, personal essays, teacher recommendations, leadership roles, personal characteristics, and extracurricular experiences. 

“We enroll students, not numbers,” says Director of Enrollment Management Amy Graham. “In dropping the testing requirement, we’re really just giving ourselves the freedom to go out and recruit the strongest, most diverse group of students we possibly can.”

To learn more about the Pomfret admissions process, please visit www.pomfret.org/admission.


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