Standarized tests not necessary for college applications

Kiki Soto, Comment Managing Editor

In light  of  early  college  admissions  decisions, test-optional schools provide an alternative for students with higher GPAs but low test scores. There are over 700 colleges and universities in the U.S. that are test-optional, test-flexible or otherwise deemphasize test scores in the admissions process.

Test-optional colleges and universities can be found in 49 states, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

Some top-tier colleges and universities that are adapting to this admission process are the University of Chicago, Bowdoin College, Bates College, Wake Forest University, New York University and Smith College.

Colleges with test-optional admissions policies urge students to understand the importance of their high school transcripts. The high school transcript shows rigor, the amount of honors,  AP or IB classes students are taking and their grades in those classes. With the lack of standardized tests, this is the next most important thing in the decision process.

This test-optional college trend eases the stress of students with test anxiety. One Saturday during your junior or senior year should not determine your admission to a college. SAT and ACT tests are expensive for students, almost $50 per test, and can misrepresent a student’s true capabilities.

Although this process does benefit students applying to college, it helps the test-optional universities as well.

Colleges adopting the test-optional policy saw an increase in the total number of applications by an average of 29 percent at private institutions and 11 percent at public institutions, according to a study on how test-optional colleges work by the National  Association for College Admission Counseling.

Additionally, the average high school GPA of incoming freshmen at New York Universityincreased after standardized test scores were not used as a factor in the admission process, according to the New York Times.

Test-optional schools also promote diversity. The number of black and Latino students applying and being admitted to universities that went test-optional saw an increase in numbers, according to the same report.

First-year, non-submitters, had lower grades compared to those who submitted their test scores, according to the data from the report. However, non-submitters and submitters of test scores had equivalent graduating rates, with non-submitters having higher graduation rates at some schools. Although non-submitters may have lower grades compared to their test submitting counterpart, the graduation rates of both were merely the same.

Additionally, it is important to know that, while SAT scores alone won’t get you in or keep you out of a college, students with low scores  will   have a much harder time getting into schools that do not have a test-optional process. The College Board, which owns the SAT, claims that the combination of high school grades and test scores together gives colleges the best statistical prognosis of a student’s future.

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