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Topic: Stupid SAT Op-Ed in NY Times
Replies: 2   Last Post: Aug 28, 2000 11:19 AM

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Wayne Bishop

Posts: 5,465
Registered: 12/6/04
Stupid SAT Op-Ed in NY Times
Posted: Aug 28, 2000 9:45 AM
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Don't forget to read the article all the way to the end.

"... we have scores from 98 percent of them. And we have
uncovered a striking statistic: Since eliminating the SAT requirement, we
have gained 60 SAT points, on average, in our entering freshman class."

So 2% didn't submit the SAT and those who did have stronger scores. This
is the trend to drop the SAT? What am I missing here?


New York Times Op-Ed
August 28, 2000

Who Needs the SAT?


CARLISLE, Pa. __ As the class of 2004 arrives on campus this
month, more students than ever are coming without the blessing of
the SAT. Five years ago, the faculty here at Dickinson, one of America's
oldest liberal arts colleges, took the pioneering step of eliminating the
SAT requirement for admission. Last spring, Mount Holyoke did the
same, joining a minor trend. About 285 accredited colleges have now
eliminated the requirement.

Dickinson believed that no longer requiring the SAT would improve the
quality of the student body, and it has. Our applications are up by 35
percent since the requirement was dropped, and the proportion of
entering freshmen who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high
school classes has risen to 50 percent from 25 percent.

Our move signaled to students and counselors alike that Dickinson
considered the entire student in the admission process.

SAT scores are not entirely out of the picture, since 91 percent of our
applicants still choose to submit them. But after 26 years of evaluating
applications at four competitive colleges, I know that the SAT is but one
factor in selection, and not requiring it emphasizes that. At Dickinson, we
consider strength of curriculum, grades, competitiveness of the high
school, writing ability, leadership, depth and breadth of activities, and
recommendations from teachers and counselors.

College admission is becoming more competitive today in large part
because of the desire for a "name brand," which is thought to secure
one's future, and the search for a good "price," which has the public
flagships booming while many private colleges bid against one another
with scholarships and discounts. The hype about the SAT feeds this
competitive frenzy. Students compete for the best score and take courses
solely intended to increase their scores.

We should be encouraging students to focus on the excitement of
learning, rather than on a score, and to think about the substance of what
a college offers. If making the SAT optional in a selective admissions
process helps us get there, it is the right thing to do.

At Dickinson, students who withheld SAT scores before they were
accepted usually send them to us afterward, and by the time the freshmen
begin school, we have scores from 98 percent of them. And we have
uncovered a striking statistic: Since eliminating the SAT requirement, we
have gained 60 SAT points, on average, in our entering freshman class.

Robert J. Massa is vice president for enrollment, student life and
college relations at Dickinson College.

Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company

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