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University of Chicago no longer requires ACT and SAT scores

The Washington Post said the decision cracks what had been an “enduring wall of support” for the tests among the two dozen most prestigious research universities.
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   10-07-2018

University of Chicago

The University of Chicago, an elite American university, announced on Twitter that it will no longer require undergrads to submit standardized test scores, saying it was redesigning its admissions process to "enhance the accessibility" of the institution for low-income students.

The SAT tests have long faced criticism as privileged students often achieve higher scores after paying for professional test prep. Some say the SAT is slanted in favor of privileged students — “a wealth test,” as Harvard Law Professor Lani Guinier calls it.

A growing number of American colleges have dropped the SAT and ACT requirements, saying the tests place an unfair cost on low-income and minority students, ultimately hurting efforts to broaden diversity on campus.

While it will still allow applicants to submit their SAT or ACT scores, the University of Chicago says it will take a “holistic” approach to its admissions decisions, focusing more on students’ essays, transcripts, letters of recommendation, video introductions and other nontraditional materials.

“We were sending a message to students, with our own requirements, that one test basically identifies you,” Jim Nondorf, vice president and dean of admissions at the University of California told “Chicago Tribune.”

“Despite the fact that we would say testing is only one piece of the application, that’s the first thing a college asks you. We wanted to really take a look at all our requirements and make sure they were fair to every group, that everybody, anybody could aspire to a place like University of Chicago,” he added.

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing called it a "major milestone for the test-optional admissions movement."  Over the last 14 years, over 200 US colleges and universities have spiked standardized tests as essential admission criteria, according to the organization. 

No research university as selective as the University of Chicago has been on that test-optional list, until now. 

Inside Higher Ed noted that the university's decision to make admissions scores optional is "striking," since it has no difficulty attracting students.

It culled 27,694 applications to admit 2,419 students for the class that enrolled last September, according to Inside Higher Ed.
 
Separately, the university will expand its use of technology in the admissions process, allowing students to submit a two-minute video in place of on-campus or alumni interviews, which have been optional. The new approach begins with the class of 2023.
 

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