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SAT Scores No Longer Important to Some Colleges

SAT Scores No Longer Important to Some Colleges

14 February, 2016

Many students struggle under the pressure to get a high score on college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT. However, more and more American colleges and universities are implementing test-optional policies for admissions, acknowledging that test scores are not really connected in being successful in college.

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Colleges Turn Away From SATs

The vast majority of high school students take the SAT or ACT when preparing for college. Colleges and universities traditionally anticipate a certain score on one or both of these exams for admissions, with the minimum score varying depending on the competitiveness of the institution. This can create a lot of pressure, even for the best of students.

Many individuals argue that these exams do not evaluate academic skills of students but just their test taking skills and are therefore not necessarily good predictors of academic performance. Based on this premise, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest) released a study in 2007 on test-optional admissions at U.S. colleges and universities.

Test Scores Not Correlated With Performance

The reasons that institutions cite for moving toward test-optional admissions differ widely. Some have found that test scores simply do not have predictive validity and therefore are not beneficial. Others note that these tests are likely to favor students who are going to affluent high schools with the resources to prepare students for the tests, thus putting low-income students at an even greater disadvantage in the college process.

Many of these institutions have found out that by relying on classroom performance instead of test scores to measure academic merit, they can attract a more diverse and successful pool of freshmen. In fact, most institutions discovered that, after making the tests optional, the qualified number of applicants went up significantly in many formerly underrepresented groups, including first-generation, minority and low-income students.

They also experienced a greater rate of success among admitted students after shifting to a focus on high school classroom performance because it has turned out to be a more accurate predictor of college success. This is great news for students who struggle with standardized tests.

Students who would like to concentrate on their college searches on schools that place less emphasis on SAT scores may consider using the Common Application (www.commonapp.org). Participation is currently only open to schools that do not solely base their admissions criteria on test scores and grades.

The application can be used to apply to numerous schools and provides students with the chance to concentrate on the admissions essay and other important parts of their senior year. Among the list of schools that use the Common Application are well-regarded institutions like Stanford University, Columbia University, Harvard College, Duke University, Cornell University and Princeton University.