UPJ Mountain Cat statue

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Mountain Cat statue sits in an empty courtyard during spring break March 11, 2020, at the campus in Richland Township.

All four of the University of Pittsburgh's regional campuses have launched an experimental approach to admissions for fall 2020 by making submission of ACT and SAT scores optional, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are making this adjustment to help our prospective students and their families cope with the extraordinary disruptions triggered by the pandemic and its fallout," Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar said in a release on Thursday.

All prospective Pitt system students already receive individual reviews. Without the test scores, other factors will be considered for admission.

According to a release from the university, items such as grade trends, extracurricular activities, the strength of a student's academic coursework and performance in advanced courses will be given more consideration now that test scores are optional.

Aid programs will still be available to qualifying students with or without the submission of test scores.

If included, the scores can still factor into merit-based scholarship eligibility.

"This pilot program for the regional campuses will be an interesting experiment and only fair under the circumstances," Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd said in the release. "It will provide a nice opportunity for Pitt to evaluate the impact of going test-optional, not just for this fall's incoming class but also for today's high school juniors."

Due to the spread of COVID-19, the ACT test scheduled for April 4 has been rescheduled for June 13 and the SAT test set for May 2 was canceled.

"We'll add U.S. and international test administrations in response to cancelled administrations," the SAT website says. "We'll be flexible in making the SAT available in school and out of school as soon as the public health situation allows."

Pitt noted that some majors at the Johnstown, Greensburg and Bradford campuses may still require score submissions.

Pitt-Johnstown applicants are asked to visit www.johnstown.pitt.edu/admissions, for more information or contact Associate Vice President of Enrollment Services Therese Grimes at upjadmit@pitt.edu or call 814-269-7050.

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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