The role of the SAT for small liberal arts colleges

The CMC Admission Office in the Kravis Center

I think the SAT is a pretty horrible metric. With the rise of the test prep industry and income inequality, more and more the SAT has become a laughable way to decide if students are intelligent or prepared enough to attend various institutions.

Recently, Claremont McKenna College’s lawyers released their independent investigation of the admission, or SAT, scandal. As a Pitzer College student, I have taken a number of courses at CMC and work with a number of their students, so one of my editors at the Claremont Port Side asked me to give my take, a Pitzer perspective, on the issue.

Something I touch on in the piece is that especially for small liberal arts colleges the SAT is a terrible criteria to use for admission. In small community driven institutions, a holistic admission process is key to ensure a diversity of students –not simply in the racial sense, but also making sure there are enough athletes, artists, activists, and researchers on campus. Assuming that institutions use the Common Application and a supplement, the amount of information that admission officers have access to should be more than enough to decide whether or not to admit an applicant. SATs should be irrelvent.

At this point, SATs are just one more bragging right for prestigious colleges, not a measure of the quality of the student body.

You can read my entire piece, “The Scandal from Across the Street,” on the Claremont Port Side website.

I also rather like the research done by FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, if you’re interested in more about SAT/ACT use.


About Jonathan Rice

Fulbright Fellow, Pitzer College alum, and communicator passionate about telling stories that make an impact.

Posted on 04/24/2012, in College, Commentary, General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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