December 2006 Newsletter
Vicky Bernal from NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams wrote:
Thank you for your help on our story on SAT’s. Our report takes a look at how many schools are no longer requiring SAT scores for admission. We would love to talk to anyone who has any insights to this matter. This story is scheduled to air next Tuesday.
While the public should know that there are over 700 colleges in the US that either don’t require SAT’s or make them optional, there are also specific requirements for each of these schools if the applicant is not going to submit scores. When applying to some of these colleges with optional SAT’s, if an applicant does not submit scores, then the rest of the application needs to make up for the lack of the score information. These colleges want to see a stellar academic record in the most challenging courses, powerful personal statements, dynamic teacher recommendations, evidence of talent in significant extracurricular pursuits, and through personal qualities and interests, an applicant who has the potential to make a difference.
When applying to a college that has an optional SAT policy, if a student has respectable SAT scores, then he/she should definitely submit those scores. I remember working with a student who had a 750 CR and a 720 Math, but a B minus average. By submitting his scores to a selective college with an optional SAT policy, he was accepted. Without those scores, he would not have had a chance.
It’s important to understand the psychology behind colleges with optional SAT policies. Since the 25th – 75th percentile of admitted students’ SAT scores is one of the factors in US News & World Reports rankings, this is just another way for colleges to drive up their own rankings. If admissions deans at colleges with optional SAT policies truly do not want to count SAT’s in the admissions process, they would not. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when these colleges make SAT scores optional only applicants with higher scores are going to submit them, thus inflating the college’s mean score.
Hope this helps. Please call if you have questions about any of this.
P.S. You can find a list of colleges that have Optional SAT Policies at The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest)