Test-Optional Admission

ODU admits students based on a holistic admission approach. We believe that standardized test scores are not always the best predictors of a student’s potential success in a college setting. Based on this belief, along with much research, ODU offers a test-optional route to admission that allows students to replace their standardized test scores with other items that would indicate potential for academic success.

Test Optional Requirements

Students interested in completing the test-optional admission process must identify themselves as a test-optional applicant on their application or by notifying the office of admission of their intent. See full requirements below.

Test-optional applicants must:

  • Have a minimum 2.3 high school GPA
  • Demonstrate proficiency in core academic areas such as mathematics, science, social science, and English
  • Submit an academic letter of recommendation and an essay for one of the prompts listed below

Upload Application Materials

Academic Letter of Recommendation

  • Must be from a teacher who has had the student in the classroom and can speak to their academic abilities

Essay – Students can choose one of the following essay prompts:

  • Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, please share your story.
  • The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma — anything of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  • Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Special attention will be given to student’s GPA progress over time, additional academic criteria, demonstrated leadership capabilities, and extracurricular involvement.

International students whose primary language of instruction is other than English must still submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Test System (IELTS).