CHICAGO (CBS) — The latest change regarding the admissions process at the University of Chicago could send ripples through the nation’s elite colleges.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports the university will no longer require SAT and ACT scores for undergraduate admission.
Less than 10% of the students who apply to the University of Chicago are accepted for admission, yet the undergraduate dean at the university says they are missing students.
Since the 1950s, the competitive university, often rated in the nation’s top 5 schools, has relied on standardized tests like the ACT and SAT to gage possible student success.
“There ought to be other ways to gain access to great universities other than simply sitting for a three hour exam,” stated John Boyer, Undergraduate Dean at the University of Chicago. “We know there are tens of thousands of students who are disadvantaged in their ability to take these tests.”
Boyer sites students from inner city and rural schools as an example, saying there are many students who may not have the same access to costly test preparation like students from wealthier neighborhoods.
The University of Chicago is becoming the first of the nation’s elite schools to make the standardized tests optional for admission.
“We are trying to equalize and make things more accessible to everyone in the country,” stated Boyer.
Memories of the standardized tests are fresh in the minds of students, even those who took the exams years ago.
Graduate student Johanna Rail says the tests are “just a lot of pressure.”
Undergraduate student Zack Tripp agreed, saying, “I just didn’t feel like it was measuring my potential aptitude in college.”
Other universities around the country have allowed students to submit video essays for their admissions consideration. U of C says they are changing their admission process due to today’s digital age.
“One shouldn’t be using the same tools one was using in 1950,” Boyer said.
There are roughly 900 colleges and universities where reporting test scores are optional. CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports they include well-regarded institutions like Skidmore and Bard, but this is a groundbreaking move in the circle of top twenty universities where change doesn’t always happen quickly.