The Ivy Coach Daily

November 8, 2021

Brown University PR Spin

Brown should release the percentage of students who earned admission to the Class of 2025 without test scores (photo credit: Kenneth C. Zirkel).

Thinking of applying to Brown University without test scores? If you were considering getting hair transplant surgery — heaven forbid — you’d likely want to see some before and after photos of prior patients, right? You, understandably, would want to see that track record. And yet if you’re considering applying to Brown and you’re wondering if you should or should not submit your pretty good but not amazing test scores, there are no before and after photos to check out all because Brown has not released any official numbers on the students who applied and ultimately earned admission to the university with and without test scores. Who would go to a hair transplant surgeon unwilling to show before and after photos? What has the surgeon got to hide?

A Brown Admissions Officer Makes the Case They’d Never Mislead Applicants

Yet as Will Kubzansky reports for The Brown Daily Herald in a piece entitled “The Supplement: How students decided whether to submit standardized test scores,” “Katrina Souder, an admission officer for the University who reads applications from parts of Manhattan, Staten Island and counties in central New Jersey, said that the University sees test scores as just ’part of a bigger conversation about academics.’ ’We’re not in the business of trying to mislead (students) when we say things on our website,’ she said. ’When we say something is optional, we mean it’s optional. … We want (students) to be able to present the best application they can.’”…The University, she said, doesn’t advise individual students on whether they should apply with or without a test score. Instead, they suggest that students speak to their school counselor or another adult who might understand the context of their individual school better. But if a student does ask her whether or not they should submit a score, Souder will instead respond with questions: Are they proud of their scores? Do they think that the test scores line up with the ’academic story’ on their transcript?”

It Might Be Optional to Submit Test Scores But It Doesn’t Mean You’re Getting In

And that of course is all utter nonsense. Our nation’s elite colleges write untruths on their websites quite regularly. Let’s take Brown as an example. On Brown’s admissions website, it states, “All first-year applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States will be admitted to Brown on a need-blind basis.” Yet on the Brown supplement, the university asks students, “Do you intend to apply for need-based financial aid from Brown?” Applicants are then prompted with a yes/no response. It’s near the very top of the supplement. If admissions officers were truly need-blind to U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., then admissions officers would not be privy to that answer. It would be on a separate document that they could never see. So, no, Ms. Souder, we don’t believe you’re telling it like it is. Frankly, if you were telling it is, your office would release the statistics on the percentage of students who did and didn’t get in with and without test scores. You’d show us the before and afters. Finally, saying that students should submit scores if they support their academic story only further substantiates the notion that all else being equal a student with a great score will always have an advantage over a student with no score.

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