In just a few weeks, college students will begin getting letters from prospective colleges they applied to that might change their lives.
For many, that letter of acceptance might come without the college considering an SAT or ACT score as the pandemic made hundreds of universities around the country reconsider requiring them as millions of students around the country have had difficulty taking the tests because of the pandemic.
“Students are far more than any number,” said California Institute of Technology Director of Undergraduate Admissions Nikki Chun.
While 1,600 universities and colleges around the country have gotten on board with being test-optional, according to the research group Edsurge, CalTech is one of only a handful that has completely eliminated looking at SAT and ACT scores for prospective students.
The university says they have enacted a two-year moratorium on test scores for the graduating classes of 2025 and 2026.
“What happens when you can actually help a human being help a level of their own potential that even they might not be aware of,” said Chun.
Chun says the university will look at a student’s story instead of what is strictly on paper, but some people are skeptical of the move for colleges and universities to go “test blind.”
“It just didn’t make sense to me that for their brand they were willing to take away something that has been so important for all these years,” said Michael Edwards, the father of a high school senior in New Jersey.
Edwards says his main concern is readiness; will the schools his daughter applies to attract the same threshold of intelligence without what has been its primary barometer?
“It’s the great equalizer; it’s supposed to be,” said Eva Addae, co-founder of the college preparatory group, Summit Prep.
At the University of Pennsylvania, a test-optional school, admission to this year’s incoming freshmen was 50 percent higher for students who submitted test scores than without. Georgetown’s was higher too, according to both schools’ admissions numbers.