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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.

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 Admission Requirements

Test-optional applicants must:
  • Have a minimum 2.7* high school GPA
  • Demonstrate proficiency in core academic areas such as mathematics, science, social science, and English
  • Submit at least four items from the lists below (two of these items must come from the academic options list)
  • Academic Options
    • Academic Recommendations From a Teacher or Guidance Counselor
    • Academic Writing Sample
    • Honors / AP / IB Course Work
    • Class Rank
  • Non-academic Options
    • Community Involvement
    • Extracurricular Activities
    • Personal or Group Achievements
    • Completed ZeeMee Profile (www.zeemee.com)

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).

*Any students with a cumulative GPA of 2.3 to 2.69 are eligible to be reviewed for admission without test scores (ACT or SAT), but will be required to submit the following additional documents:

1. 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.
  • 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?
  • Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

2. Academic letter of recommendation from a teacher who has had the student in the classroom and can speak to their academic abilities.

3. Two additional pieces that can be academic or extra/co-curricular in nature. Students can find a list of acceptable materials in the Test-Optional Admission Requirements shown above, highlighted in the Academic Options and Non-academic Options sections.


Supplemental Information


Academic Recommendations
Students may submit up to two letters of recommendation from a teacher or guidance counselor that can attest to their academic abilities.

Academic Writing Sample
Students can submit a recent writing sample of at least 500 words that has been completed within the last two years. Academic papers and graded writing samples are acceptable. Students may also choose to write a separate essay specifically for their ODU application describing their academic and career goals and how their ODU education will help them achieve those goals.

Class Rank
A student’s class rank reflects their classroom performance. An above average class rank may indicate academic potential.

Community Involvement/Extracurricular Activities/Personal or Group Achievements
Community service, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, and achievements are strong indicators of leadership and excellence which can translate to college success. Students are encouraged to submit any documents or media that showcase these items including, but not limited to, resumes, YouTube videos, presentations, certificates, awards, or slide shows.

ZeeMee Profile
ODU is excited to partner with ZeeMee, a free service that helps students bring their applications to life. We are committed to reviewing every applicant as a unique individual. Students may create their profile by uploading videos and other information to ZeeMee.com and then simply provide their ZeeMee link to their ODU admissions counselor via email.