The University of Chicago Announces a Huge ACT/SAT Change
To kick off the summer of 2018, the University of Chicago announced that it would no longer require its prospective students to submit ACT or SAT scores in order to be considered for acceptance. While the value of standardizes test scores has been a heavily debated topic for years, University of Chicago is the first school consistently ranked in the top 10 in the country to make this decision, so what does that really mean? We’ve talked to teachers, professors, guidance counselors, and admissions officers in the past couple of weeks and wanted to share the main takeaways.
The University of Chicago is trying to build a diverse, well-rounded student body, and standardized tests have historically tended to benefit wealthier students. University of Chicago hopes that by making these test optional and encouraging prospective students to send in a video introduction instead, admissions officers will be able to accept promising candidates whose test scores might have made them slip through the cracks.
No, this doesn’t mean you should stop taking the ACT/SAT. The vase majority of schools still require an ACT or SAT score, and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. For all their faults, standardizes tests still remain one of the few constants that allow college admissions officers to compare students. An “A” in chemistry in your high school might not mean you learned exactly the same material as someone who got an “A” in chemistry in a different state, but a 30 on the ACT is the same regardless of state. Until someone comes up with a better way to analyze students from all over the world, the ACT/SAT will still be an important factor to most colleges.
Make sure your college resume is more than just a good test score. When you’re thinking about applying to colleges, put yourself in the position of the person who will read your application. If you were going to sit down at your desk and read 50 applications in a row, what kind of traits or experiences would stand out to you? A high test score certainly helps, but so would a high GPA or a transcript full of the most challenging AP courses or extracurriculars where you helped your community or a state championship or leadership positions in clubs or an internship or an incredible essay. Colleges want to see what you care about and how you’ve used your time and skills to better yourself and your high school/community, so there are many, many ways outside of a standardized test score to do that.