July 29 (Reuters) - Philadelphia's Temple University said on Tuesday it will no longer require prospective students to submit a standardized test score when they apply, joining a small but growing group of schools that believe there are other ways to gauge talent.
Temple said it is the first public research university in the United States' Northeast to broaden its admissions policy in this way. Most U.S. schools still rely on students' SAT or ACT test scores when choosing whom to admit.
A prospective student's high-school grade point average, class rank or even his or her "grit, self-determination and self-confidence" may all be better predictors of success in higher education, Temple said in its announcement.
Although applicants can still submit test scores if they choose, they will also be allowed to write short answers to what the school called "self-reflective" questions as an alternative.
Neil Theobald, the school's president, suggested the move, which will apply to those who apply for fall 2015, will lead to a more diverse student body.
"By giving students more choices, we open doors to more first-generation students and those from underserved communities whose enormous academic promise may be overlooked by conventional measures of achievement," he said in a statement.
More than 800 four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. do not require applicants to submit either SAT or ACT scores, according to FairTest, a group that advocates for alternatives to standardized testing in university admissions.
Last week, Bryn Mawr College, a private liberal arts college for women not far from Temple in Pennsylvania, also said it will no longer insist on SAT or ACT scores from applicants.
However, Temple said that prospective students who scored highly in their SAT exams should continue to include their scores in their application all the same. (Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Diane Craft)