The University of Chicago recently announced that it will no longer require its applicants to submit standardized test scores from the SAT or ACT. It’s joining the “test optional” movement, which actually began about 50 years ago at Bowdoin College in Maine and has added colleges and universities to its list ever since. But before students break their #2 pencils, there are some points to be considered.
Why are colleges tempted to waive their test requirement? Statistics have shown that college applicants who choose not to submit test results scored, on average, 100 to 150 points lower than those students who did divulge their SAT scores. Therefore, by not including the SAT scores of these students, if admitted, test optional colleges are able to artificially boost their average SAT score for admitted students which makes them appear more selective and move higher in the rankings race. The higher they rank, the harder they typically become to get into. Currently, the University of Chicago ranks as the 3rd “Best National University,” according to U.S. News & World Report, with an 8% acceptance rate. It tops six of the eight Ivy League schools, surpassed only by Princeton and Harvard universities. If the University of Chicago gets a surge of additional applicants, attracted by its new test optional policy, its acceptance rate will likely drop even further making it harder – not easier – to get into.