Test Optional: Hofstra is among Hundreds of Schools No Longer Requiring SAT/ACT Scores
By Neil A. Carousso
This past summer, Hofstra University became 1 of nearly 800 colleges and universities that dropped its standardized testing requirement in order to focus on a more holistic admissions approach.
“The transcript carries a lot of weight and understanding kind of the environment the student is in,” said Andrew Cohen, the campus visit coordinator in Hofstra’s Office of Undergraduate Admission.
Hofstra considers challenging curriculums and competitive schools in their decision.
“Independent research shows that high school grades predict better than the test, which shows you how truly lousy a predictor the ACT and SAT are,” said Bob Schaeffer, the public education director at FairTest, who was engaged in a series of internal deliberations among hundreds of institutions over the summer.
The College Board is set to revamp the SAT in 2016, reverting back to a 1600 scale with an optional essay. Meanwhile, the ACT is more of an aptitude test, which tests reasoning and verbal abilities.
“The test itself measures a particular set of knowledge and skill that may or may not correlate well with school performance,” Schaeffer said. “For example, the admissions director at Harvard has said that they know how to evaluate applicants who come in with high test scores and low to moderate school grades. Those kids are slackers who will not perform well in college either,” continued the FairTest education director.
Harvard College has received a total of 34,295 applications for admission into the class of 2018. A mere 2,048 applicants have been admitted. Only 6 percent of applicants were admitted into the Ivy League institution last year. Harvard looks for applicants with 700-800 on the reading section of the SAT and over a 710 on math and writing. Their minimum composite score on applicants’ ACT tests is a 32. Comparatively, Hofstra has enough space to accommodate 59 percent of those who apply, but seek well-rounded applicants with a “rigorous college preparatory curriculum in high school” with solid grade point averages.
“I thought that was a really good decision,” said Joy Jones, a freshman journalism student at Hofstra, about the University dropping their standardized testing requirement. “Everyone doesn’t test well and it doesn’t necessarily test your ability to learn and how good of a student you are based on scores,” Jones continued.
High school seniors, who applied for early action and early decision, will find out their admission results from the University around December 15.