What College Admissions Officers Look For: Importance of Standardized Tests (page 2)
How Important are Standardized Tests?
Standardized tests have grown in importance over the last 10 to 15 years, and, as a result, many students feel pressured to do well on these tests. The two standardized tests involved in the college admissions process are the SAT, administered by the College Board, and the ACT, administered by the American College Testing program. The original value of these exams was to be able to predict a student’s first-year college grades. After extensive studies, it appears that there may be some gender, cultural, and economic biases inherent in both tests, which is one of the reasons why testing is a controversial topic.
Unfortunately, I have seen students with high averages, great essays, and outstanding extracurricular activities turned away by the college of their choice because of disappointing test scores. Parents, also disappointed by their child’s test scores, naively ask whether the colleges can overlook this one area and optimistically hope that high grades, a great essay, or extracurricular activities can outweigh lower test scores. Colleges that practice holistic admissions policies may weigh other factors in addition to testing scores. There is a growing wave of concern over how heavily these scores are being used and in what ways these scores are being used. For very selective schools (with some exceptions), standardized test scores continue to be among the top factors used for admission purposes.
Standardized test scores, in addition to being a factor in the admissions process, are also used for evaluation for scholarship purposes, including individual state scholarship programs.
Are There Any Testing-Optional Colleges or Universities?
As a result of the deepening concern over the testing frenzy, several organizations have arisen to address the testing issue. If you have difficulty attaining the score you want or need in order to attend the college(s) of your choice, do not despair! There are over 800 colleges that are testing-optional, meaning that you do not have to submit your test scores in order to be considered, even by very selective colleges. More colleges are added to the list each year. For a complete list of testing-optional colleges, visit fairtest.org. Keep in mind that in lieu of standardized test scores, some of these testing-optional colleges may require SAT Subject Tests, graded essays, or other criteria to replace test scores. In some cases, test scores won’t be used for admission purposes but could be used to place you in the proper level of your classes. Some testing-optional colleges also use test scores to determine merit scholarships, so you may have to submit test scores to be considered for some scholarships. It is important to carefully research the policies of each testing-optional college before you apply.
Sample of Testing-Optional Colleges:
- University of Arizona, AZ Pitzer College, CA Connecticut College, CT Hampshire College, MA Goucher College, MD
- Bowdoin College, ME
- Wake Forest College, NC
- Bard College, NY
- Fashion Institute of Technology, NY
- Hamilton College, NY
- Hartwick College, NY
- Sarah Lawrence College, NY
- School of The Visual Arts, NY
- Franklin & Marshall, PA
- Gettysburg College, PA
- Muhlenberg College, PA
- Providence College, RI
- George Mason University, VA
- Benington College, VT
Add your own comment
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- The Five Warning Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
- What Makes a School Effective?
- Child Development Theories
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Test Problems: Seven Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Not Working
- Bullying in Schools
- A Teacher's Guide to Differentiating Instruction
- Steps in the IEP Process