Big News! Wake Forest University Drops the SAT

According to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, more than 750 colleges and universities nationwide no longer require applicants to submit scores on either the SAT or ACT college admission test. Over the past decade the number of colleges that have decided to forgo the SAT requirement has tripled. The large increase in the number of educational institutions that no longer require applicants to submit test scores has come about, at least to some degree, from the perception that these tests are unfair to blacks and other minorities and do not offer a valuable tool to determine whether these minority students will succeed in college.

Many of the prestigious schools that have dropped the SAT/ACT requirement are small liberal arts colleges such as Hamilton, Bowdoin, Hampshire, Middlebury, Bard, Mount Holyoke, Bates, Connecticut College, and the College of the Holy Cross. Recently Smith College, the selective college for women in Northampton, Massachusetts, joined the list of SAT optional institutions.

But a real crack in the testing industry’s hold on the college admissions process has come with the recent decision by Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to no longer require test scores of its applicants.

Wake Forest is the only university ranked in the top 30 national research institutions to have adopted the SAT optional policy. Most of the nation’s large research universities have clung to the SAT because it gives them a standardized tool to grade their very large and geographically diverse applicant pools.

Wake Forest, which received about 9,000 applications this year, will increase its admissions staff by 20 percent, which will enable the university to give each applicant careful consideration in a non-test score environment.

University admissions officials say that one reason for dropping the SAT is to encourage more black and minority applicants. Blacks now make up 6 percent of the undergraduate student body at the university. Wake Forest provost Jill Tiefenthaler stated, “Reliance on the SAT and other standardized tests for admission is a major barrier to access for many worthy students. By taking this step at Wake Forest, we want to remove that barrier.”