Nathan O. Hatch, president of Wake Forest University, writes that Wake Forest, along with other liberal arts colleges including Bates, Hamilton, Holy Cross, Bowdoin, and Middlebury are moving away from depending on SATs as criteria for admissions. They are making the SAT optional, that is, not required.
Research has shown that high SAT scores are not always the best predictor of success in college. What they do reflect is income level. A study of California students showed that SAT scores correspond to family income, not to college grades. Other factors, such as grades, subject tests, class ranking, and the rigor of the class load a student takes are better indicators.
Standing back from SAT criteria assures two things for colleges. One is that colleges meet the goal of giving everyone equal opportunity for education and success. If you are poor and do not perform well on SATs, you should still have the right to a quality post-secondary education. A second guarantee is that colleges are creating a more diverse population on their campuses, not just a population of students from top-tiered family incomes who have the same ability to perform on one test.
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