KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The University of Tennessee-Knoxville, is making standardized test scores optional for the fall 2021 admission cycle.

The change comes as a result of testing companies and centers suspending operations amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. UT’s application process will open Aug. 1.

“We are working to be compassionate, creative, and flexible with our current and future students in extraordinary circumstances,” Chancellor Donde Plowman said. “Future Vols should not have to put off their college education or choose another university because they lack access to standardized testing.”

Students can still choose to submit ACT or SAT test scores. Applicants will be considered regardless of test score submissions for Honors and Scholars programs and many scholarships if their application is submitted and completed by the appropriate deadline.

Universities across the country are increasingly making standardized test scores optional, particularly for the fall 2021 admissions cycle. The application will give students the ability to showcase both academic and nonacademic talents.

“College preparedness can be displayed in a variety of ways,” Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Director of Undergraduate Admissions Fabrizio D’Aloisio said. “Factors like leadership, community engagement, critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and resilience speak volumes to how ready students are for college life.”

UT officials will review the results of this year’s process and make a determination about extending it beyond the 2021 admissions cycle.

“We have always placed value upon the whole student, beyond singular measures such as test scores, and now we have an opportunity to reinforce that to 2021 applicants,” D’Aloisio said.