Adopting test-optional policies could harm admissions

Carl Vidrine, Associate Views Editor

The following is an opinion article and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

As more and more schools, including Bowdoin College, Wake Forest University and DePaul University, implement test-optional admissions policies that judge applicants without ACT or SAT scores, pressure grows for other schools to follow suit. While this conversation is a necessary one, going test-optional would offer Tulane few benefits. Tulane should not follow this trend in the future. 

Much of the motivation for this trend stems from a desire to see more students from less privileged backgrounds gain access to prestigious institutions. Evidence that supports this idea comes from a study published in February conducted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. The study found that students from disadvantaged backgrounds were less likely to submit scores. This correlation between test score submission and family income provides a basis for the policies. 

Yet, while these policies are interesting, there are two reasons why Tulane should hesitate to implement this policy. 

First, reducing the information given to admissions staff is almost never beneficial. If Tulane were to take up the mantle of equity in admissions, it should be done by further examining applicants and increasing the information available to admissions officers, not by removing a major indicator of a student’s potential to succeed. Director of Admissions Faye Tydlaska said Tulane does not have any plans to go test-optional at this time. Tulane admissions considers a lot of variables when accepting students, and test scores are only one very small portion of the final decision at Tulane. But as the trend continues to grow, these thoughts may change. 

Changing the way applicants are evaluated requires a great deal of care and can result in negative consequences, such as Tulane not accepting the best applicants. Embracing a test-optional policy at this time would reap few rewards for Tulane.

Carl Vidrine is a junior in the Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached for comment at [email protected]