Ball State Makes SAT, ACT Optional – But NOT for Homeschoolers

Ball State UniversityBall State University, commonly referred to as Ball State or BSU, is a public research university in Muncie, Indiana. Ball State recently announced a big change in its admissions process. The university will make submitting SAT or ACT scores optional for most incoming freshmen starting in the Fall of 2019.

This means that for the majority of students they may now choose whether they submit their SAT and/or ACT scores—the university will not require them. The college says that this change is aimed at increasing diversity and reaching more students who excel in the classroom but might not perform well on standardized tests.

“Our research shows high school grade point averages are the strongest predictor for student success,” said Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns in a press release. “This change will create opportunities for even more high-achieving students to take advantage of our distinctive academic programs, our unique immersive learning experiences, and our supportive campus community.”

However, there are two exceptions to this new policy:

  • Homeschooled students
  • Students who attend a high school that does not provide grades

These non-traditional students will still be required to submit a SAT, ACT, GED or TASC test score sent directly from the testing center to be considered for admission. This doesn’t mean the college doesn’t like these types of students – it’s just that with no “official” grades they have no way to rank them. The only way around this is to first attend a community college and then apply to Ball State as a transfer student.

Kassi Morgan wrote on Ball State’s Facebook page, “I was homeschooled after my freshman year of high school and didn’t take the ACT or SAT. I am a Ball State student and am on track to graduate Spring 2019. When I graduated high school I earned nothing lower than As and Bs. However, I wasn’t admitted into Ball State right away and had to attend a community college for about two years before Ball State would take me.”

So unfortunately, Ball State’s new admission policy will do little to help homeschool students whose talents are not well-measured by filling in bubbles on a standardized test.


Even though it’s a public university, admission to Ball State is pretty competitive. The acceptance rate at Ball State is about 60%. Last year, the university not only had the second largest freshman class in its history; it also had the most academically qualified class in its history.

“We want to build on this success. By becoming test-optional, we will become more attractive and accessible to students across the entire state of Indiana,” said Dr. Kay Bales, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services. Of course, this will only increase the competition. Research shows public colleges across the country see applications increase 11 percent after they become test-optional.

Ball State University is looking to attract students who are likely to be successful at the university and ultimately in life. Ball State admissions representatives will consider your academic performance, level of course work, standardized test scores (if provided), and participation in extracurricular activities when they review your application. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.47, you’ll want to compensate with a higher SAT or ACT score.

To boost your chances as a homeschooled student, in addition to submitting your test score(s), you should submit a one-page statement highlighting your unique educational activities, significant life experiences that have affected your academic preparation and/or course selection, and special awards and recognitions. For example, do you play an instrument, compete in sports, perform onstage, participate in clubs, have a job, or volunteer?

Also, be sure you complete these high school courses to be eligible for admission:

  • four years of English
  • three years of mathematics (Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry)
  • three years of science (two with lab)
  • three years of social studies
  • foreign language (strongly recommended but not required)

For more information about Ball State admissions, visit


Do you want to design skyscrapers? Start your own company? Create programs for students with autism? With about 190 majors  and more than 130 minor areas of study, Ball State can help you reach almost any personal or professional goal you set for yourself. If you’re not quite sure what you want to study, you can start by taking University Core Curriculum courses and your faculty advisor will help you find the program that makes the most of your talents and interests.

Whatever you end up studying, you’ll get tons of hands-on experience and close interaction with faculty, so when it comes time to graduate, you’ll be ready for anything. Trying to decide what major is right for you? Take a quick test to match a major with your personality: click here!


Ball State University had its start in 1899 as a private college called the Eastern Indiana Normal School. The entire school – including classrooms, library, and president’s residence – were all housed in what is today’s Frank A. Bracken Administration Building. The Ball brothers, local industrialists and founders of the Ball Corporation (best known for their glass canning jars and lids), bought the administration building and surrounding land in 1917 to save it from foreclosure, and then gifted it to the state. The Indiana General Assembly accepted the donation in the spring of 1918, with an initial 235 students enrolling in what was already casually being referred to as “Ball State.” This year they’re celebrating their 100th Anniversary!

Ball State University - Celebrating 100 Years

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