Believe it or not, July was another busy month in the world of test prep and college admissions.
June was all about College Board’s typo on the June SAT. In July, the test prep/college admissions world was rocked when…
George Washington University went test-optional
GW announced in late July that the school is now test-optional for most undergrad applicants. Students can submit scores if they’d like to, but if they believe their scores are not an “accurate reflection of their academic potential”, they may opt out of sending test scores. GW announced that the decision will help “strengthen and diversify” their applicant pool.
George Washington University became one of the largest universities to become test-optional, so this led to many articles commenting on the impact. NPR questioned whether GW’s choice signaled the beginning of the end for the SAT and ACT. They quote College Board’s response to the announcement, which is that test scores are the best indicators of success in college. However, the article also cites a study that shows that a student’s high school record is a better indicator of college performance. The writer concludes that this is most likely not the end of the SAT and ACT, but wouldn’t be surprised if other large schools go test-optional.
The Washington Post also responded to the news with an opinion piece about how getting rid of the tests is a mistake. It notes that standardized testing is useful as it provides a uniform way to compare students from thousands of different high schools. The author does note that the tests are flawed and need changes, and that schools should spend more effort on outreach and financial aid to increase their diversity.
Another Washington Post article points out that at many test-optional schools, many applicants still choose to send in their test scores.
While GW’s decision has caused quite the stir in the community, we’ll just have to wait and see what the impact will be. We hope, for Testive's sake, the SAT and ACT are here to stay. We're a strong believer that the tests do even the playing field for students since the quality of education and grading system at high schools vary so greatly.
Simplified FAFSA could lead to more families getting financial aid
In early July, the Gates Foundation called for the FAFSA to be simplified. They’re calling for three main changes: to eliminate complex questions, letting the forms be filled in automatically with IRS data, and letting students use two year old tax information. These changes would make the process easier for students, and hopefully allow more families to apply for (and receive) financial aid.
Common App available August, 1
On August 1, the Common App will open for the 2015-2016 school year. This is the application many universities use, which of course leads to most students using it as well. Huffington Post put out an article pointing out some new policies and improvements on the application.
Of course with the Common App, this also means essay time. Not only is there the personal statement that is on the application, many more selective schools also require supplemental essays. Huffington Post published another article containing 10 tips on writing those essays.
Empty nest syndrome: What's a parent to do
School is going to be in session soon, and that means college freshman moving out and parents dealing with an empty (or at least emptier) nest. NBC News published a post with some advice on how to deal with sending your kids off to college for the first time.