New FairTest Analysis Finds: More than 700 4-Year Colleges Are SAT/ACT Optional

Press Release

for further information:
Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773
Beth Beard (857) 350-8207

for use after 12:01am, Wednesday, October 8, 2003

As high school students across the country sharpen their Number 2 pencils for the academic year’s first national administrations of the SAT and ACT, a new list published by the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) demonstrates that scores from neither test are necessary for many applicants at more than 700 four-year U.S. colleges and universities.

“Applicants can now choose among more than 700 accredited, bachelor-degree granting institutions — more than a quarter of the national total — that admit substantial percentages of their first-year classes without using the SAT I or ACT,” said FairTest University Admissions Analyst Beth Beard. “Deemphasing standardized test scores is an excellent way to comply with the recent U.S. Supreme Court endorsement of ‘holistic’ admissions.” The FairTest count is based on a systematic review of the College Board’s 2003 College Handbook and other guide books, information posted on college and university websites, and interviews with school officials.

“Colleges and universities eliminate test score requirements for many reasons” explained Bob Schaeffer, FairTest’s Public Education Director. “Many are concerned about the negative impact on race and gender equity that results from relying on test scores. Others recognize that high-priced coaching programs artificially boost the scores of students who can afford them. Most agree that scores from a three hour exam add little of value to an applicant’s portfolio.”

The first SAT administration of this school year takes place this Saturday, October 11. The first national administration of the ACT is two weeks later on Saturday, October 25.

The new FairTest list includes such highly selective institutions as Bates, Bowdoin, Connecticut, Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall, Mount Holyoke, and Pitzer colleges as well as members of large public university systems in Arkansas, Nebraska, Texas, and other states. Religious, for-profit, and distance-education colleges are also included.

Some schools on the list do not require any applicants to submit test scores while others require them only from students whose high school records do not meet minimum grade point average or class rank levels.

The full list of more than 700 accredited, bachelor degree-granting institutions which do not use the SAT I or ACT to make admissions decisions about substantial numbers of freshman applicants will be posted on the web at in both state-by-state and alphabetical order. Printed copies may be obtained by sending a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope to FairTest, 15 Court Square, Suite 820, Boston, MA 02108.

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