Each year, we hear about more colleges choosing to go to a test-optional admissions policy, and we applaud the trend. With George Washington University joining the 850 colleges and universities with test-optional admission policies this year, we can expect even more to follow.
Research done by William C. Hiss, former Director of Admissions at Bates has demonstrated in his four-year study of 33 both private and public colleges and universities no statistical difference in the graduation rates of those applicants who chose to submit and those who chose not to. Data also shows that non-submitters tend to be from non-traditional college families, ie first generation college students. Not requiring submission puts these students on an equal basis with students from higher-income families whose parents and grandparents attended college.
Wake Forest University’s undergraduate admissions office debated the difference between students with the same GPAs but with great disparities in their SAT and ACT scores. Their conclusion? The SAT reflects family income, not raw ability.
Colleges seeking a “bounce” in application numbers often find it when they adopt a test-optional policy, as well as an increase in minority and non-traditional applicants.
As I advise college-bound students and see weak SAT scores, I often advise them to consider SAT optional colleges, and review options on the fairtest.org website. It has become an important strategy for many students.
Sarah C. Reese Informed Educational Solutions December 26,2015