SAT stands strong at Rutgers
Since 1926, the chances of a high school student being accepted into their dream college depended largely on one major factor — their SAT score.
Almost every school in the United States requires SAT scores. Last year, Courtney McAnuff, president of Enrollment Management at Rutgers, told the Daily Targum that as the space for students fills up, admissions becomes more selective and the average SAT score of a Rutgers student increases.
While Rutgers announced more selective admissions last year, other schools announced the opposite. Hampshire College in Massachusetts strayed off the beaten path and decided to scrap SAT scores from their admissions process all together.
“Every other detail of the student’s application became more vivid," said President Jonathan Lash of Hampshire College in a USA TODAY College article. "Their academic record over four years, letters of recommendation, essays, in-person interviews and the optional creative supplements gave us a more complete portrait than we had ever seen."
Rutgers, on the other hand, recently opened the new Honors College. According to the University, this year’s freshmen class has the highest average SAT score in Rutgers history.
At Rutgers, SAT scores are an integral part of the admissions process, McAnuff said.
“Within our review of students, SAT (scores) is just one factor we consider in a holistic review process,” said Courtney McAnuff in an email. “Grades and the quality of a student’s academic program remain the strong predictors of success.”
Other facts considered greatly by Rutgers are extracurricular activities, leadership positions, community service, employment and family circumstances, McAnuff said.
Patrick Phillips, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, said he believes SAT scores help the University be more selective.
"As much as students hate the SATs, the scores do show a certain extent of a student’s academic capability," he said.
Lash told USA TODAY College that while the number of applications at Hampshire College did decrease after getting rid of SAT scores, the diversity of Hampshire College went up.
But evidence shows that making test scores optional does not increase socioeconomic and racial diversity on college campuses, said Katherine Leven, director of Assessment Communications at College Board, in an email. Despite this evidence, an increase in diversity is exactly what the policies claim to achieve.
McAnuff does not believe that scrapping SAT scores would increase diversity at the school because the University is already extremely diverse.
“Our holistic review process contributes to the fact that Rutgers is one of the most diverse institutions in the Unites States and number one in diversity among our peer institutions,” McAnuff said.
The infamous US News College Rankings list will not include any school in the rankings if it does not accept SAT scores, according to USA Today.
At the same time, US News released an article titled “The Case Against the SAT,” which said that Ithaca College joined other colleges that do not require SAT scores.
“(Ithaca Colleges') first realization was that test scores add relatively little to our ability to predict the success of our students,” said the US News Article. “Studies undertaken by the SAT’s sponsor, the College Board, generally indicate that the SAT adds only modestly to the prediction of student success after high school GPA is taken into account.”
While Ithaca College finds that the SAT score does not predict the student’s future in college, McAnuff feels the opposite.
“Standardized test scores are used in conjunction with grades and academic honors, not as a stand-alone item,” McAnuff said. “Within the context of each student’s high school record, test scores are helpful in predicting what level of college courses a student is prepared for.”
The SAT scores are also required for course placement, academic counseling and scholarships qualifications, Levin said.
“The College Board continues to advocate for a variety of factors to be considered in the admissions process and high-quality research, including our own, shows that neither the SAT nor high school GPA should be used alone when making admissions decisions,” Levin said.
Despite the actions of other universities, McAnuff said that Rutgers-New Brunswick has no plans to drop the SAT exam.
“Rutgers is very competitive in admissions because our students have so many qualities," McAnuff said.