‘Teen Vogue’ Examines Value of Being a Test-Optional College

Whitney Soule

In a recent article exploring the benefits and drawbacks of having SAT scores play a role in college admissions, Teen Vogue reporter Charlotte West notes that “[c]olleges with test-optional policies often see more diversity in their incoming classes.”

Bowdoin College, which has been test-optional since 1969, was the first in the United States not to require SAT scores as part of its application. “Now our applicant pool comes from all over the world,” Dean of Admissions Whitney Soule told the magazine. “We have more diversity of all kinds — geographic, socioeconomic, racial, ethnic.”

Approximately 25 to 30 percent of Bowdoin’s applicants do not submit test scores, and Soule said that Bowdoin students who do not submit scores perform just as well academically as their test-submitting peers.

Soule also offers advise to high school students who are considering whether to include their scores in their Bowdoin application. “Students may choose to send in scores that are low for [our average scores] but are actually really high in their environment,” she said. “Out-testing their peers is actually a positive data point even though looks like a negative one relative to our overall testing profile.”

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