Scripps College has announced that it will make SAT and ACT test scores optional for admissions. The decision was made by the Scripps College Board of Trustees in a vote on March 6.
Starting in the Fall 2021 admissions cycle, SAT and ACT scores will be optional for all applicants as part of the college’s effort “to identify and advocate for students with a strong academic profile who may have previously been viewed as less competitive.”
In an admissions office announcement, Scripps College stated that “[b]eginning in fall 2021, students who choose the test-optional path will not have SAT or ACT scores considered in the admission review process. Scripps’ holistic admission review will continue to consider academic achievement, in conjunction with curriculum, engagement in and out of the classroom, essays, and letters of recommendation.”
Scripps will be the second of the five Claremont Colleges—Pomona, Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges—to implement test-optional admissions after Pitzer College did so in 2003.
Across the country, more colleges are choosing test-optional admissions, as the University of Chicago did in 2018 to “increase accessibility for first-generation, low-income students.” Since implementing this policy, the University of Chicago has had the third-highest average SAT score of all colleges, only behind Caltech and MIT.
According to an Inside Higher Ed poll of college admissions officers, dropping the test requirement has enabled more racially diverse classes without a significant drop in graduation rates. According to admissions officers surveyed by Inside Higher Ed, going test optional helps address the “the trends in test scores by race and ethnicity…Scores on the SAT of Asian Americans are increasing at a much faster rate than are scores for other groups. And those suing Harvard University and other critics of affirmative action like to point to test-score averages to suggest discrimination against Asian Americans. Seventy-five percent of admissions leaders surveyed by Inside Higher Ed said they were concerned by the ‘persistent gaps’ in SAT and ACT scores by race and ethnicity.”
According to its Common Data Sets, Scripps College’s yield rate has dropped in the past three admissions cycles, with the yield rate for the class entering in Fall 2017 being 34%; the number has since dropped to 32% for students entering in Fall 2018 and 29% for those entering in Fall 2019. Meanwhile, Scripps SAT scores have remained fairly constant for the last decade, ranging between 1270 and 1450 without much fluctuation. ACT scores, ranging between 28 and 33, have remained similarly constant. It is currently unclear how this change in testing policy will affect Scripps’ yield rate.