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Jul 26, 2014 05:15 AM EDT

Bryn Mawr Introduces “No-SAT” Policy for Admissions

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The Bryn Mawr College has decided not to include SAT or other standardized test scores for admission, beginning this fall. The school will instead focus on high school grades, essays and other factors in an attempt to draw a broader applicant pool.

"We know there are students all around the country who, when they see 'test scores,' they see it as a barrier to applying," said Peaches Valdes, Bryn Mawr's director of admissions, Philly reports.

Previously, Bryn Mawr adopted a "test-flexible" policy, where students were allowed to submit Advanced Placement Test scores or SAT subject test scores or a combination, rather than the traditional SAT math and reading scores.

"It was clear that the standardized tests added very little predictive information, after accounting for the strength of applicants' academic work in high school and the admissions staff's review of the whole application," said Marc Schulz, a psychology professor on the faculty admissions committee.

Despite the "no-SAT" policy, the college will continue to require applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents to submit SATs or ACTs. Bryn Mawr expects an enrolment growth as due to the policy modifications.

Bob Schaeffer, a major critic of the SAT and other standardized tests, said that Philadelphia now includes several test-optional schools besides Bryn Mawr.

For example: St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Dickinson College in Carlisle, Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Ursinus College in Collegeville, Gettysburg College and Albright College in Reading among others.

Critics have long-time regarded the SAT as an unreliable forecaster of college readiness. However, the College Board, founder of the SAT, disagrees with the allegations.

"In nearly all validity studies, high school GPA and SAT scores in combination are shown to be the best predictors of college success," said Kate Levin, a spokeswoman for the College Board.

Schaeffer said that more than 800 colleges or 30 percent of all national schools including Mount Holyoke, Smith, Wesleyan (Ga.) and Haverford College among others ask students to submit SAT and ACT scores. Proponents perceive the test as the standardized measure for student evaluations.

"In the context of other academic information, we do find them useful," said Jess Lord, dean of admission at Haverford College.

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