Mike Vandenberg, director of recruitment, says the test results give the admission team an idea of potential success in college.
Concordia accepts both ACT and SAT scores with no preference for either.
At Concordia College, the admission team takes a
Concordia does not require students to take the written portion of the ACT.
The Bigger Picture
Standardized test scores are not the only indicator to evaluate a student’s ability. The admission team at Concordia College looks at a student’s transcript, references, extracurricular activity
“There’s not a cookie-cutter way of accepting students,” Vandenberg says. “Real people are looking through the applications for well-rounded students.”
The team looks at all aspects of the student’s high school life to make sure the student will prosper in all areas of their life while at Concordia. The college does not have set scores to determine whether or not a student can be accepted into the college.
“The ACT and SAT tell us how well you did on a standardized test on a Saturday morning,” Vandenberg says. “It gives some indication of potential success in college, but there are a lot of other factors. For example, if you are a non-native English speaker or don’t do well on timed tests, that can have an impact on your score.”
Due to that rationale, the admission office focuses more on the transcript that shows course selection and any trends in grades.
“We do get questions from juniors who are asking about courses they should take their senior year, what Concordia would want to see on their transcript,” Vandenberg says. “My answer is that you should take courses that you know you can be successful in. Take the most challenging courses you can without jeopardizing your GPA.”
Test results are not only used for making an admission decision but also for determining scholarships.
Concordia looks at a student’s GPA and test results to determine scholarship amounts.
A student with a high score and high GPA will receive higher scholarship amounts; however, if a student has a high test score but a low GPA, they would not earn more scholarships. Every accepted student receives a scholarship. If a student is close to obtaining a higher scholarship, the team will look at involvement and other factors to determine if the student should be rewarded a higher scholarship.
Share Your Story
Being able to share your story with admission representatives can help your scholarship outcome. The ability to brag a little about yourself is key, Vandenberg says.
“Sometimes people forget to tell us about leadership experiences or volunteer work they’ve done,” Vandenberg says. “Maybe they serve at church or in the community, are the captain of the basketball team, or are on student council or the National Honor Society. We want to know about those things. It could help you get a bigger scholarship.”
Preparing for the test doesn’t have to be a scary undertaking. One of the best things a student can do to get the highest score possible is test prep.
“There are lots of materials on the ACT website,” Vandenberg says. “You can even take practice tests. Some of them are free. You can also buy or rent books online or in stores that can help you study for a test.”
The latest a student should take a test is fall or early winter, he says. If a student has a conflict and cannot take the test until late winter or early spring, Vandenberg says that as long as the student communicates the situation to the admission representative, they can accommodate.
Setting You Up for Success
Vandenberg says that it’s really common for students to be unsure or worried about their application status or are curious to learn more about their scholarship options.
“The best thing students can do is ask their rep that question,” Vandenberg says. “We’ll be as honest and open as we can be. Asking those kinds of questions shows a lot of self-awareness and self-advocacy, and that’s one of the biggest skills we look for in students.”
If a student is denied admission their first time applying to Concordia, Vandenberg says the admission team has no problem re-evaluating an application if a student retakes the ACT or SAT.
Sometimes the admission representatives may defer the student. A deferment is when the representative asks the student to retake the test again because they are close to accepting the student but need to see multiple test scores to ensure that whatever decision they make is the right one.
The college would not ask a student more than once to be deferred. The process is normal, and the team only asks this if they feel the student has the ability to be successful at Concordia College.
“Our application process is not designed to keep you out,” Vandenberg says. “It is designed to show you how you belong at Concordia. But be as thorough as you can on your application. Tell us about all your awards and the activities and volunteer work you’re involved in. If you’re nervous about your test score or wondering if it could it help with scholarships, ask those questions either on a tour or talking to your rep.”