Even as many colleges and universities have begun to implement test-optional admissions policies, the majority of students applying to these schools continue to submit standardized tests. Except at one institution – Pitzer College, where 63 percent of students this year applied without ever submitting test scores. So what’s different at Pitzer?
First, it’s important to remember that Pitzer’s success wasn’t achieved overnight. Only in the last 5 years of its decade-long journey has Pitzer seen a solid majority of applicants decide to withhold scores. An additional reason for this development might be the students themselves. Angel B. Perez, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid at Pitzer, reports an increasing amount of anecdotal evidence that suggests students simply like the school’s philosophy.
Another benefit of Pitzer’s decision to go test-optional is the steady growth the school has experienced in its minority enrollment, which stands at 34 percent. Students feel as though they will be evaluated within a more holistic context and not solely based upon one test score. Given these successes, some ask why Pitzer has yet to adopt a more radical approach, like that of Sarah Lawrence College, which completely disregards test scores in its evaluation – even if students submit them. Interestingly enough, the justification stands as good reasoning for the decision to go “optional” in the first place: “We don’t want [students] to feel penalized.”
As more colleges and university come on board and demonstrate confidence in the test-optional approach, will, too, a majority of non-submitter students become the norm on college campuses?