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Today, more than a quarter of all American colleges and universities make standardized test scores such as the SAT or ACT optional. Joseph Soares, professor of sociology at Wake Forest University and editor of “SAT Wars: The Case for Test-Optional College Admissions,” said this change has actually increased standards at schools instead of lowering them. Wake Forest University decided to change their admission process and went test-optional, and afterwards saw their freshman class students that has been in the top 10% of their high school go from 65% to 83% in a year. They also saw Pell Grant recipients double. “Our student body is more racially and socioeconomically diverse than ever before. Library usage is up, and classroom discussions are reportedly livelier than before.” 

In Thomas Rochon’s article in the U.S. News, entitled “The Case Against the SAT,” Thomas, who is the president of Ithaca College, explains how Ithaca has also joined the growing number of colleges that have incorporated an option to omit standardized test scores. “Our first realization was that test scores add relatively little to our ability to predict the success of our students.” 

This new approach can really have a positive outcome and encourage many students to apply and gain a higher education. There are many potential students that are discouraged from applying to colleges that require a test score. Maybe it’s because they are not comfortable taking the SAT or ACT. Whatever the reason is, Thomas explains how it’s suspected that many potential students who would succeed in college are not applying.

Research by psychologist Claude Steele, dean for the School of Education at Stanford University, has also states that underrepresented groups are more likely than others to be put off by test score requirements. If eliminating standardized tests as a required element of the application would increase the number of highly qualified applicants to college, increase the quality of the enrolled freshman class, and increase the diversity of that class…then what are schools waiting for?

Nancy Coronado