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The University of Chicago announced it is no longer requiring SAT/ACT scores be submitted with applications. While over 175 colleges have become test-optional, this event is historic for the fact that U-Chicago is the first top 10 university to make such a change; U-Chicago ranks third on the U.S. News & World Report list of top national universities after Princeton and Harvard and ties with Yale.

In addition the university announced they will be completely ending all in-person admission interviews, which had been optional. The university already has one of the lowest admissions rate at 7 percent; by removing the testing requirement, it’s unclear what result this change will have.

Supporters claim this change will provide wider access to students intellectual promise regardless of background, and research does suggest test-optional policies increase applications by disadvantaged students.

Skeptics believe these tests are necessary for balancing the playing field amongst the combination of data admissions officers receive and are broadly used as gauges to judge inflated grades. They also argue this tactic is used to generate significant increases in applications, thereby lowering the admissions rate and making the school appear more selective.

Arguments aside, most schools that change to test-optional report that a majority of applicants still submit standardized test scores. Student’s have often claimed despite their challenges, these tests offer a sense of empowerment as they provide an additional opportunity to display academic ability and maximize college chances. Clear to both sides is that the debate is just getting started.


  1. A shake-up in elite admissions: U-Chicago drops SAT/ACT testing requirement. By: Nick Anderson; Washington, D.C.; Reporter covering higher education, national education policy and the global education market. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/a-shake-up-in-elite-admissions-u-chicago-drops-satact-testing-requirement/2018/06/13/442a5e14-6efd-11e8-bd50-b80389a4e569_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ae8bc0e658af
  2. U.S. News & World Report list of top national universities; https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
  3. FairTest – National Center for Fair and Open Testing; Test Optional Growth Chronology 2005-2018; http://www.fairtest.org/sites/default/files/Optional-Growth-Chronology.pdf
  4. By dumping SAT requirement, U Chicago risks admissions fairness; Frederick M. Hess is director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. R.J. Martin is a research assistant at AEI; http://thehill.com/opinion/education/393590-u-chicago-dumps-sat-testing-requirement-risking-admissions-fairness

 

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