Evidence of correlations between race, household income and test performance, along with the recognition that SATs may not be the best predictor of academic potential, prompt the decision.
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Beginning with the class entering in the fall of 2009, Smith College will make the submission of SAT scores an optional part of the admission process.
The policy, approved by President Carol T. Christ after study by the Office of Admission and faculty approval, affirms the college’s practice in recent years of de-emphasizing the role of standardized test scores in the admission process.
“At Smith, we take a holistic and individual approach to each application,” said Audrey Y. Smith, dean of enrollment, “looking at every applicant in the context of the opportunities she’s had available to her and what she has made of them. We are looking for women of talent, intelligence and promise and we’re confident in our ability to find them.”
The admission process carefully considers several factors: an applicant’s high school program, performance and experiences, and estimated potential for success at Smith. Transcripts and recommendations are read for evidence of success in a rigorous curriculum. Extracurricular activities often provide a glimpse as to what an applicant might contribute to the Smith community.
In adopting the policy, Smith joins a growing number of the nation’s top liberal arts institutions that have in recent years made SAT scores optional. It comes at a time of increasing national concern about the validity of standardized tests in predicting academic potential and success, as well as the strong and widely demonstrated correlations between race and household income and test performance.
The decision to make SAT scores optional follows a year in which Smith received the largest number of applications in its history. Applications this year, for the Class of 2012, totaled 3,771, a 13 percent increase over last year. Applications from international students alone jumped 23 percent. And, a record-high seventy-five percent of students admitted this year were in the top ten percent of their graduating class
The quality of Smith’s education is demonstrated with each graduating class. Smith consistently leads the nation in the number of Fulbright scholars per capita, and the college’s acceptance rate to the prestigious Teach for America program is twice the national average.
Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. By linking the power of the liberal arts to excellence in research and scholarship, Smith is developing leaders for society’s challenges. Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country, enrolling 2,600 students from nearly every state and 61 other countries.