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BW drops standardized test score requirement for merit scholarships

Strosacker Hall on the BW campusUnder a new and novel approach to awarding merit scholarships, first-year applicants to Baldwin Wallace University will have a clear and easy understanding of how much merit awards will trim their tuition based solely on high school grade point average (GPA).

While admission to BW has long been ACT/SAT "test-optional" for students with at least a 3.0 GPA, in the past, the University used a combination of standardized test scores, GPA and/or graded writing samples to determine merit awards.

That all changes for students entering BW in fall 2021, when BW permits all students to apply without providing an ACT or SAT score and ends the practice of factoring standardized test scores into merit scholarship eligibility in any way.

GPA-based scholarships

Under the new approach, which is unusual in higher education, BW merit scholarships will be based entirely on a student's cumulative weighted high school GPA established at the time an admission decision is made.

"We removed ACT/SAT test scores as a requirement for admission over a decade ago, realizing data showed GPA as the greatest determinant of a student's readiness and fit for BW," explains Scott Schulz, BW Vice President of Enrollment Management. "It makes sense, then, to eliminate the use of standardized test scores to determine merit scholarships, as well."

"This is now a more transparent process that offers certainty and simplicity," Schulz adds. "It also removes the proven disadvantage that test scores pose for underserved populations."

BW still accepts test scores from students who believe their test scores show additional evidence of preparation for BW and wish for them to be considered during the holistic admission review.

Quick and easy certainty

BW Merit Scholarship Chart by GPAA simple chart now allows BW applicants to determine their level of merit support at-a-glance, or they can plug their GPA into a streamlined online scholarship calculator.

"Tying merit scholarships directly to high school GPA gives a student and family an up-front understanding of merit eligibility and how affordable an excellent BW education will be, even before they add in outside scholarships and financial aid based on need," Schulz says. "Overly complicated scholarship ranges and unclear qualification metrics add a layer of uncertainty for families. At BW, all that complexity is stripped away."

Schulz notes that BW's new fully test-optional approach also provides relief for students grappling with the additional layer of anxiety the COVID-19 pandemic has added to college entrance exams.

"This policy allows students to bypass the stress of scheduling tests and instead focus on their academic coursework, the best determinant for college success."

More Information

For more information, students and families can visit or contact the BW Admission Office at (440) 826-2222, or

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