The junior year of high school may become a great deal less stressful for some college-bound students as colleges are increasingly waiving SAT and ACT requirements for applicants.
According to the National Center of Fair and Open Testing, there are now over 800 schools that do not require SAT or ACT scores to apply, writes Abby Jackson for Business Insider. Notable schools including American University, New York University, and Wake Forest University are among other highly-esteemed schools on the list.
The latest school to drop test requirements is George Washington University. Like other schools that have made the change, GW believes that requiring a test score is an obstacle for recruiting disadvantaged students.
“Although we have long employed a holistic application review process, we had concerns that students who could be successful at GW felt discouraged from applying if their scores were not as strong as their high school performance,” said Dean of Admissions Karen Stroud Felton. “We want outstanding students from all over the world and from all different backgrounds – regardless of their standardized scores – to recognize GW as a place where they can thrive.”
Even though many schools feel that requiring test score limits applications and that scores may not accurately depict a students ability to succeed at the university level, ACT President John L. Erickson believes there isn’t a “significant” test-optional trend, writes Nick Anderson for the Washington Post.
Erickson believes that test scores, along with other elements of a college application, are a useful tool and have proven their value to admissions officers. He doesn’t see the benefit of admissions officers wanting to obtain less information from prospective students.
Temple University, which also recently dropped their test score requirement, would disagree with Erickson. Their new policy yielded a freshman class of over 4,500 students for 2015 with a higher enrollment of African-American and Latino students –26% this year versus 22% last year. Quality has improved as well; the class’ average GPA is a 3.51. Last year it was 3.47, writes Susan Snyder for Philly.com.
“We cannot ignore the mounting evidence that standardized test scores inject socio-economic bias into the admissions and financial-aid equations,” Hai-Lung Dai, Temple’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said last summer in announcing the change.
Instead of test scores, students applying to Temple can choose to write a series of four essay questions. The essays are used to assess leadership, self-awareness, goal setting, determination and grit. They are read and scored by graduate students along with the admissions department.