Misleading Headlines About Colleges Dropping the SAT and ACT

Test Optional Colleges, Test Optional Schools, Test Optional Universities
Contrary to a headline in The Washington Post, most highly selective colleges haven’t joined the ranks of test-optional schools.

There’s a headline today in The Washington Post, the very newspaper that broke the Watergate scandal, that reads: “A record number of colleges drop SAT/ACT admissions requirement amid growing disenchantment with standardized tests.” The piece, authored by esteemed education reporter Valerie Strauss, focuses on how “the tide is turning at a record number of schools that have decided to accept all or most of their freshmen without requiring test results.” But what the title of the piece doesn’t say is that the vast majority of highly selective colleges are still requiring the SAT or ACT. While the University of Chicago boldly announced it was going test-optional in June 2018, it’s not like other highly selective colleges have since followed its lead.

Most Highly Selective Colleges Haven’t Gone Test-Optional

As Strauss reports, “Test-optional schools include the University of Chicago, Brandeis University, the University of Rochester, Wake Forest University and Wesleyan University. Bates, Bowdoin, Colorado, Dickinson, Emerson and Pitzer colleges also don’t require test scores.” Note you won’t find one Ivy League school on this list of test-optional schools. Nor will you find highly selective colleges on this list like Stanford, Duke, MIT, Caltech, Northwestern, etc. Are you starting to get the idea?

All Colleges Manipulate College Rankings, Even and Especially Test-Optional Colleges

Finally, just because a school has gone test-optional doesn’t mean a student shouldn’t submit their test scores. Yes, test-optional schools love to receive great scores — even if they happen to tell you just the opposite. You see, colleges are master manipulators of college rankings — and the University of Chicago more than most. But one can’t fault UChicago for being better at manipulating college rankings than so many of its peers. And, yes, going test-optional, while it seems like it’s a move filled with all good intentions, is one way of many for a college to manipulate the college rankings.


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