‘U.S. News’ Changes Policy on Testing

‘U.S. News’ Changes Policy on Testing

Most college rankings are totally useless garbage, but no matter what we think, they are widely used by students/parents in their college search. If you do let them guide you it is important to understand the recent changes. Read more here

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College Admission: Data, Transparency, And Match

College Admission: Data, Transparency, And Match

Does it matter whether Princeton was ranked the number one or number three university in the country this year? Do you really care if Stanford’s overall admit rate was 3.95% or 2.16%? What does it mean to you if the University of Pennsylvania denied 94.32% or 95.74% of all applicants?

News flash: these institutions are uber selective. You could be the most qualified student in the country with perfect grades and test scores, an exceptionally written college essay, glowing recommendations, and impactful community involvement, and still be turned down by the most selective colleges.

Brennan Barnard’s recent Forbes piece explores colleges’ lack of transparency and so much more. Give it a read!
The reality is, you are rolling the dice when applying to these schools. They could select a full class of new students, throw it out, take the runners up, and guess what…the overall profile of the accepted class would look nearly identical. In fact, schools with low single-digit admit rates could do this many times over. This you cannot control. What you can control is how YOU approach the college search and application experience, and the quality and usefulness of the data you seek.
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Will MIT change and challenge the test-optional movement?

Will MIT change and challenge the test-optional movement?

Probably not. 

Great piece by Jim Jump if you are following the test-optional movement. A highlight:

There are, of course, some global reasons why test-optional policies will not go away. One is the decision by the University of California and Cal State systems to no longer use test scores in their admission processes. As a result, colleges that recruit heavily in California will have a hard time reinstating test score requirements. But students outside California may also rebel against colleges that return to requiring test scores. The Ivies may be able to get away with it, but two years ago, when the pandemic accelerated the number of colleges going the test-optional route, an admissions dean friend postulated that colleges farther down the food chain may find that students may simply refuse to apply to colleges that aren’t test optional.

Read it here in full!

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Sal Khan: Test-Optional College Admissions Adds Ambiguity and is Bad for Students

Sal Khan: Test-Optional College Admissions Adds Ambiguity and is Bad for Students

Interesting read if you are following the test-optional movement and related debates. Sal Khan is the founder of Khan Academy, a non-profit that partners with the College Board. Read the interview here

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Colleges That Are No Longer Test Optional

Colleges That Are No Longer Test Optional

And so it begins…

MIT is no longer test-optional.

Will other schools follow in the name of transparency (because—let’s be honest—although test-optional policies do have merit at some institutions, they do not increase transparency around the admissions process)?

After careful consideration, we have decided to reinstate our SAT/ACT requirement for future admissions cycles. Our research shows standardized tests help us better assess the academic preparedness of all applicants and also help us identify socioeconomically disadvantaged students who lack access to advanced coursework or other enrichment opportunities that would otherwise demonstrate their readiness for MIT. We believe a requirement is more equitable and transparent than a test-optional policy. In the post below —  and in a separate conversation with MIT News today —  I explain more⁠ about how we think this decision helps us advance our mission. 

Some popular schools that have also rolled back COVID-era test-optional policies include UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Charlotte, East Carolina, Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, the University of Florida, New College of Florida, FSU, UCF, and USF (all State University System of Florida). 

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TODAY! 3/14 at 8pm Eastern: Test Prep and College Planning Open Forum Q&A

TODAY! 3/14 at 8pm Eastern: Test Prep and College Planning Open Forum Q&A

Join us on March 14th at 8 pm eastern for a casual discussion on all things test prep and college planning. We’ll be presenting a few of our top tips and strategies but will leave most of the session open for your questions. This session is for students and parents.

Register here!

Hope to see you on March, 14th!

News of the Week!

News of the Week!

UC extends the application filing period.  Effective beginning with the fall 2023 admissions cycle (applicants filing in 2022), the University of California has changed the application filing period. The new filing period will be October 1 – November 30. Note: the deadline will not change. Allowing students to submit their application as early as October 1 [note: please submit apps early] could ease some of the pressure students normally feel at the end of the year, as well as those worsened by the pandemic.

But also…

Thousands of prospective students may be denied admission to the University of California, Berkeley, after a judge ordered the institution to freeze enrollment amid an ongoing legal dispute with a local community group over the environmental impact of a proposed expansion plan. The order to freeze enrollment at UC Berkeley was handed down in August by an Alameda County Superior Court judge in response to a lawsuit brought by a local group called Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, which has been organizing around this issue since 2018. The University of California Board of Regents appealed the decision and asked the court to stay the order to freeze enrollment while the appellate process plays out. That request was denied last week. Now regents are appealing to California’s Supreme Court.

Navigating the road to admission: As the landscape changes in admission, some high school seniors wonder how they were denied admission at their local university, which two years ago would have been a “sure thing.” Parents ask how Northeastern University has a lower early acceptance rate than Harvard University. Meanwhile, colleges use enrollment tactics that are not always student-centered. One example is the practice of deferring students’ early applications and then to be a competitive candidate encouraging them to convert to a binding Early Decision plan, only to deny the student admission in the end. Read more about these college admissions truth bombs. 

Does calculus matter too much in admissions? We think so.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to add the College Transparency Act to another bill, which the House then passed. The result will be much more information made available about how colleges perform at educating students.

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News of the Week

News of the Week

Will test-optional become the new normal? As more colleges embrace the practice for a few years—or permanently—the debate is changing.

So of course….the College Board Announces Streamlined, Digital SAT.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of a decision that Harvard University’s use of affirmative action in college admissions is legal. The court will also hear an appeal of a ruling that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s use of affirmative action was legal.

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News of the Week!

News of the Week!

Dartmouth College announced an anonymous $40 million gift that will enable the college to offer need-blind admissions to international students. That brings to six the number of colleges with the policy: Amherst College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

Five students say leading colleges and universities are acting as an illegal “cartel” in violation of antitrust law. One of the students’ lawyers is a former prosecutor in the Varsity Blues case

Harvard is slow-marching the ACT and SAT into decline and diminished relevance

Some colleges reject the idea, but most appear to be allowing students to visit—with certain precautions.

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(Late) News of the Week!

(Late) News of the Week!

Harvard, Yale,  and other Ivies report near-record numbers of early-admission applications…and on another planet (New Jersey), Princeton joins a small group of schools not releasing admissions data, citing impact on applicants’ anxiety. Side note: This is not how to solve anxiety around college admissions. 

Harvard extended its test-optional policy for four more years. But the main reason Harvard and its counterparts are dropping the test is that it’s in their interest to do so.

A news flash? Binding admission offers do not, in fact, oblige you to attend. If you can’t afford to go at the price that the college has asked you to pay, you can back out.

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