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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Re-Evaluating the Merits of College Admission
While the test-optional approach to college admissions is far from being the new norm, it's mere existence threatens to reshape the historical admissions process.

A decade ago, no college applicant would dream of skipping out on the SAT. Yet, in recent admissions cycles, the dinosaur of aptitude tests has watched as it has been gradually supplanted by the more accessible ACT exam. Where the SAT used to be the old standard, some colleges are now opting for an either/or approach to accepting scores from the two exams.

Historically, the SAT was viewed as the level-playing-field metric designed to help colleges evaluate candidates objectively. Over time, it's become evident that success on aptitude tests tends to break down along class/gender/racial lines in a way that is far from objective.

There's also the argument that some smart, creative, interesting people just don't do very well on fill-in-the-bubble aptitude tests. The SAT itself has recently implemented sweeping changes to its format in an attempt to woo test-takers.

More astonishing is the slow-growing trend by some colleges of scrapping the requirement for aptitude testing all together. Well known institutions like Wesleyan and Wake Forest have recently adopted test-optional policies. Some smaller private institutions have even adopted their own set of admissions-testing policies-scrapping the standard format of grades/test/admissions essays.

At the graduate level, many business schools have opened new creative windows to the application process, inviting everything from biographical videos to Tweets.

It's too soon to tell if any of these "outlier" policies will cause larger inroads of change. They are certainly a sign of changing stakes and a fresh approach to evaluating individual merit at the college-entrance level. By all accounts, that's good news for students and universities alike.


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