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Test Only Admissions Policies Would Make Colleges Less Diverse


The most selective colleges in the U.S. would have significantly less diverse student bodies if they adopted a standardized test only admission policy.

These findings were released in a new report by Georgetown University researchers, “SAT-Only Admission: How Would It Change College Campuses?

Under a test-only admission policy, the share of white students at America’s top 200 colleges would rise from 66 percent to 75 percent, while the number of students of color would fall from 19 percent to 11 percent. Asian student enrollment would also drop from 11 percent to 10 percent.

“In the wake of the college admissions scandal, our thought experiment tested whether removing legacy and social capital from the admissions equation would have a more equitable outcome,” Dr. Anthony P. Carnevale, the director of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) and the report’s lead author, said. “But a test-only admissions policy would only further privilege in the higher education system.”

The report also found that test-only admissions would set 1250 as the minimum SAT score for admission at the country’s top 200 colleges, and would raise the median SAT score from 1250 to 1320, resulting in a decrease in the enrollment of black and Latino students.

Currently, of the enrolled college students whose SAT score is less than 1250, 27 percent are black or Latino, and 35 percent are affluent and white.

“If we tested students, then lined ’em up and let ’em in, America’s top colleges would become less racially diverse on the basis of small differences in test scores,” Jeff Strohl, director of research at CEW and co-author of the report, said.

Lately, many universities across the country are going test-optional, making the submission of SAT or ACT scores non-compulsory and putting more weight on students’ individual high school performances.

According to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, in recent years, more than 1,000 four-year colleges and universities have made the submission of SAT or ACT scores optional, including the University of New Hampshire, University of San Francisco, University of Chicago, American University, Ball State University, and Wake Forest University.

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