How Will Colleges React to the New SAT?

April 18, 2016

ivy leagues and the SAT
How the Ivy League is Reacting to the New SAT

Wake Forest, Bowdoin College, Brandeis, Wesleyan—highly ranked national universities and liberal arts college—have something important in common: none of them require the New SAT. Notice that I used the word “require.” These schools might likely be swayed if you get a perfect score, but you can go ahead and apply without submitting a score.

It’s an interesting policy, and if highly ranked (though not quite Ivy League) schools are not requiring the SAT, will the Ivy League soon take note? Given that some of the Ivy League - Yale and Princeton included - are making the essay optional. Is the entire test soon to follow?

Though we can’t know for sure, it is by no means out of the realm of possibility. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next three years one of the Ivies joins the “SAT optional” crowd. There are several factors that could lead to such an outcome.

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Negative press continues against the SAT

There is a two-pronged attack against the SAT, which has carried over to the redesigned test. The first attack is that the test is inherently biased towards women, minorities, and the poor. The other is that the test doesn’t actually test what it purports to: college readiness. In other words, there is not a strong correlation between how well a student does on the SAT and how well he or she does in college.

In the next few years, if studies crop up confirming, or at least lending credence to, either or both ideas, I doubt the Ivy League is going to collectively shrug its shoulders. Since the test is so entrenched, there’s no guarantee that even half of the schools that make up the Ivy League will make SAT optional. But I can’t imagine that there wouldn’t be at least one ready to join the “SAT-optional” crowd. It might be to burnish its image by gaining national attention—and thereby more applicants—or it might be genuinely moved to no longer require a test that is indeed what much of the media claims it to be.


The test isn’t as rigorous as before

The flip side is that the new SAT might actually be inferior substitute for the old test. For those worrying, “is the new SAT harder?”, their minds might actually be assuaged by the fact that the new test won’t be hard enough. In other words, too many students will get a perfect score. Since the Ivies want to identify the top of the top students, the SAT will not be as helpful at doing so as it used to be. For instance, the Harvard average SAT score on the old test was between 2100 and 2350. With the new test the average score might be something like 1550-1600 (1600 is now perfect). That makes it difficult to separate the “average Harvard student” from the “above average” one. Perhaps the ACT will become a better metric for admission, or perhaps the Ivy Leagues might very well make testing optional.

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About The Author

Chris Lele, Guest Blogger
Chris Lele, Guest Blogger

Chris Lele is the GRE/SAT Expert at Magoosh Test Prep. For the last ten years, he has been helping students excel on the SAT and the GRE. In this time, he’s coached 5 students to a perfect SAT score. Some of his GRE students have raised their scores by nearly 400 points, and he’s taken many GMAT students from the doldrums of the 600s to the coveted land of the 700+. Rumor has it he does a secret happy dance when his students get a perfect score. You can read Chris’s awesome blog posts on the Magoosh High School Blog, and study with his lessons using Magoosh SAT Prep.

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