Aerial view of campus

Bucknell Adjusts Admissions Policies in Response to the Pandemic

June 3, 2020

by Mike Ferlazzo

An aerial view of Bucknell's Malesardi Quad, including Freas Hall, home to the Office of Admissions. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

Bucknell University has adjusted its admissions policies to aid applicants who had their scholastic educational opportunities disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic this spring, ensuring that their applications won't be disadvantaged by the disruption.

Adjusted policies include:

  • Expanding the University's test-optional policy to include international and home school students for the 2020-21 application cycle since opportunities to take the SAT or ACT exams were limited due to the pandemic. For now, recruited student-athletes will still be required to submit standardized tests scores due to Patriot League requirements.
  • Accepting the Duolingo English Test for international students whose first language is not English. This test can be taken online from anywhere and for $49, which reduces a number of barriers for students needing to take an English proficiency test.
  • Accepting scores from the College Board's May 2020 online Advanced Placement examinations.
  • Continuing to take a more holistic view of the student's background in reading and evaluating applications.

"In particular, we will seek to understand how high schools adapted their education in light of the pandemic," says Bucknell Dean of Admissions Kevin Mathes. "This may include moving all students to Pass/Fail grades, allowing students to choose Pass/Fail grades, continuing to give grades, changes in method of instruction and how the school calendar may have shifted. Essentially, no student will be at a disadvantage for how their high school chose to finish out the spring of 2020.

"That also applies to what students did outside the classroom since we understand that all spring activities were canceled and they may have had summer jobs or activities also canceled by the pandemic," he adds. "We understand this has a multi-year effect too, because everyone who was enrolled in a high school in spring 2020 will have this oddity on their record moving forward and we will continue to take that into consideration."

The new policies are already in place.