No more prep classes and anxiety over the ACT and SAT tests needed for high school seniors applying to DePaul University in Chicago.
DePaul is bucking the trend of putting significant weight on ACT or SAT scores for admissions applications, choosing instead to review the applicant’s academic performance and extracurricular activities in high school. Almost 3 million of the standardized college admissions tests are administered each year.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, DePaul has been deliberating dropping the ACT/SAT requirement for the last five years. The university’s goal in eliminating the test scores is to create a more “diverse student population” that includes students who are the first in their families to attend college.
Associate vice president of enrollment management Jon Boeckenstedt was quoted as saying, “People here know that if you have at the core of your identity changing lives or helping people move from situations of bad to better, you have to give them an opportunity. You can’t judge them the same way as everyone else.”
DePaul is likely the largest private non-profit university to not require standardized test scores.
Applicants that choose to not include their ACT or SAT scores in their application will need to instead provide answers to four essay questions that relate to community involvement, goal setting and personal challenges, questions that DePaul has already been utilizing for the past three academic years.
Boeckenstedt says the questions are designed to help the admissions department “uncover the characteristics of [the student's] spirit, heart, mind and soul.”
Fifty-two percent of the applications received at DePaul for the current year were low income, first generation college students. Only four percent were admitted into the school’s freshman class.
DePaul’s enrollment management special project leader Carla Cortes indicated that low income students are at a disadvantage when taking the ACT or SAT compared to their higher income peers, whose parents often enroll them in special programs for preparing for the tests. However, she noted that those test scores often did not accurately predict how the student would do academically in college classrooms.
Cortes added, “The best and fairest criteria for predicting how a student will do in college is the high school GPA, their high school record in college prep courses over four years.”
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