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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News of the Week!

News of the Week!

10 trends to watch as testing reopens (short version: ACT/SAT tests still matter).

Why January application deadlines are just a bad idea.

Advocates say a comprehensive approach is required to address mental health challenges on college campuses, but more information is needed about what does and doesn’t work. Bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress aims to find that information out.

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News of the Week!

News of the Week!

New NCAA eligibility guidelines released! 

Admissions as a Game of Chance? New Research Says Lotteries Could Decrease Diversity.

High School Students and Counselors Are Burned Out. We feel this. 

One response: “Our kids are really burnt out. Their usual ability to persevere is significantly lower. They are needing schools to come to them not the other way around. Doing virtual events is NOT helpful as they don’t even want to look at a screen.”

Another response: “Students are experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety with being back in person. Even the brightest students are struggling with completing homework and being present.”

And another: “Our students are markedly less mature this year, and moving through the college application process slowly. I don’t know that Ursinus can help, but the pandemic definitely hurt the students’ development and maturity.”

This article is definitely worth a read as we all need to keep mental health and wellness at the top of our to-do lists with our students. 

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More Colleges Going Test-Optional (Update 6/26)

More Colleges Going Test-Optional (Update 6/26)

Okay, so just about everyone is TO for this year!

Some of the recent additions to the list are below, but please go to FairTest.org for a full list:

Amherst (1 year)
Babson (1 year)
Bentley
Boston University (1 year)
Brown (temporary)
California State Schools – CSU’s
Case Western University
Chapman University
Claremont McKenna (temporary)
Colgate (1 year)
College of Charleston
College of New Jersey
Columbia (temporary)
Cornell (temporary)
Dartmouth (temporary)
Davidson (3-year trial)
Elon (3-year pilot)
Fordham (2-year pilot)
Gonzaga (temporary)
Hamilton (1 year)
Harvard (temporary)
Haverford (3-year trial)
Indiana University
JHU (temporary)
Loyola Marymount (1 year)
Loyola New Orleans (TEST BLIND)
Macalester
Michigan State (1 year)
Middlebury (3-year pilot)
Northeastern (1 year)
Northwestern (temporary)
Oberlin (3-year pilot)
Occidental (1 year)
Ohio State (temporary)
Penn (temporary)
PSU
Pomona College (1 year)
Princeton (temporary)
RPI
Rhodes College
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rowan
Rutgers
Santa Clara University (2-year pilot)
SMU
Stanford (temporary)
Swarthmore (2-year pilot)
Syracuse
Texas Christian University (temporary)
Tufts (3-year trial)
Tulane (1 year)
University of California (temporary)
University of Oregon
University of Richmond (temporary)
University of San Diego
University of Southern California (temporary)
UT Austin (temporary)
UVA (temporary)
University of Washington (temporary)
Vassar (1 year)
Villanova (temporary)
Virginia Tech (1 year)
Washington & Lee (temporary)
Wellesley (temporary)
William and Mary (3-year pilot)
Williams
Yale (temporary)

Please note: going TO does not mean schools will be “easier” to get into. And when a school goes test-optional, it does not mean that you automatically should apply without test scores. There are very few students who benefit from applying without test scores to many top-tier colleges.

Also, test-optional and test-blind are two different things; watch out for articles citing schools as test blind when they really mean just test-optional.

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Test Optional Does Not Mean Test Blind

Test Optional Does Not Mean Test Blind

Important article via Applerouth on the move to test-optional at many schools. This mirrors what we have been discussing with clients. In short, test scores can and will still matter for most clients. Read the full article here–and some highlights:

While test scores are no longer required to complete an application, the vast majority of test-optional schools still welcome test scores and value strong scores in the admissions process

Test-optional admissions policies were already on the rise before COVID-19 led to test cancellations this spring. For many colleges, adopting a test-optional admissions policy can be beneficial. Test-optional schools tend to see the following changes in their admissions patterns:

These factors have been at work for years!

Whether you are looking at a school that is temporarily test-optional for the coming year or one that has a permanent test-optional policy in place, the same wisdom applies: test-optional does not mean test-blind. Sometimes students think that if a school is test-optional, test scores will no longer play a major role in admissions. This is a misconception. 

Test-optional admission opens a lane for students who do not test as well or have limited access to testing and supportive resources, like test prep, while continuing to value strong test scores. There are effectively two admissions tracks with slightly different criteria. Students who do not submit scores will be evaluated on the rest of their application, including grades and extracurricular involvement, but they lack the additional evidence that test scores can provide in a competitive admissions environment.

As we move toward a landscape with more test-optional schools, be careful not to conflate test-optional with test-blind. Testing continues to play an important role for many students applying to test-optional schools and will do so for the foreseeable future. It’s only natural: in the midst of heavy competition, applicants will take every opportunity to distinguish themselves.

 

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