SAT Losing Clout at Colleges and Universities

The venerable SAT college entrance exam is losing its clout at some colleges and universities. According to The Boston Globe the SAT is “under heavy assault on several fronts.”

Smith College, Wake Forest University and hundreds of other colleges dropped the SAT as a requirement for admission.   Other colleges are considering similar action and many institutions cite studies concluding that the exam favors wealthier students, and that SAT scores are not compelling predictors of college success.
Many colleges that continue to require the SAT are reducing its importance in admission decisions. Tufts University, for example, employs a holistic admissions process of which the SAT is one of many components.

According to The Boston Globe article, Amherst College interprets SAT results with perspective. “It is not an intelligence test, and aptitude is going to be strongly affected by opportunity,” said Tom Parker, dean of admission and financial aid at Amherst College, which requires the test. “And the difference in opportunity [between the rich and poor] is almost unimaginable.”

 A holistic process with less emphasis on SAT results seems to be the trend at many colleges and universities where admissions officers seek a national measure but at the same time understand the tests’ limitations.

At the same time, the ACT has become increasingly popular.  Nearly all colleges that accept the SAT will also accept the ACT with preference.  In recent years more college-bound students have taken the ACT than the SAT.

A list of test-optional schools is available at: http://www.fairtest.org/

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