Mount Holyoke Goes "SAT Option"

University Testing

The oldest college for women in the country is the newest member of the growing list of schools which do not require test scores for undergraduate admission. After substantial study and debate, Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, recently announced that SAT and ACT score submission will be optional for all applicants for at least the next five years.


Writing in an internal newsletter, Mount Holyoke President Joanne Creighton explained, “As long as the test is required, it assumes a larger role than it should in the eyes of perceivers and blurs the message we wish to send . . . “


Last winter, the college’s faculty voted to endorse a test-score optional policy after a committee report concluded, “We believe the SAT score, at best, is a measure of a narrow set of verbal and mathematical abilities. The test does not measure the range of intellectual and emotional qualities that our own educational environmental requires and attempts to nourish.”


Dean of Enrollment Jane Brown added that her research indicated that the high school transcript is a better predictor of college grades than is the SAT. Mount Holyoke is a very selective undergraduate institutions, with more than 3000 applicants competing for only 535 seats this year.


Because it is one of the “Seven Sisters” elite women’s colleges, Mount Holyoke’s test score optional policy will be closely monitored by other schools. A similar admissions review at neighboring Smith College has been advocated by such alumnae as Gloria Steinem and Phyllis Rosser, lead author of FairTest’s report Sex Bias in College Admissions Tests: How Women Lose Out.