Take That, College Board!

by Jane S. Shaw

George Washington University will no longer require ACT or SAT scores for applicants. It’s one of the most prominent of the schools to take this step (Wake Forest and American are among the others).

The Washington Post interviewed the school’s dean of admissions:

“Although we have long employed a holistic application review process, we had concerns that students who could be successful at GW felt discouraged from applying if their scores were not as strong as their high school performance,” said Dean of Admissions Karen Stroud Felton. “We want outstanding students from all over the world and from all different backgrounds – regardless of their standardized scores – to recognize GW as a place where they can thrive.”

I asked former George Washington University president Stephen Trachtenberg what he thought about this move. He said that it should increase the pool of applicants, and those who have strong SAT scores will submit them, anyway. (GWU has been accepting more of its applicants than in the past, so a bigger pool is attractive.)  

“This is a smart move to get a larger, better entering class,” he said, but it sends a “mixed signal” and “begs the question of what criteria do we use to sort applications. What are our standards going forward, if any?” And:

For better or worse I think it’s where the world is going. If you believe that is the future it makes sense to be a pioneer and be an early adapter. It may also anticipate the Supreme Court doing away with affirmative action as we now know it.

So now you have it. It’s the way the world is going, whether that’s good or not.