University of Chicago drops SAT / ACT scores … say, what?

While I was beaching, my MBA alma mater – the University of Chicago recently announced that it will no longer require its American undergraduate applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores.

“The new policy is meant to help even the playing field for students coming from low-income and underrepresented communities.”


The intent is certainly commendable, but the policy strikes me as problematic…


No doubt,  black and Hispanic minorities are disadvantaged when SAT scores are heavily weighted, especially if the test has cultural biases as some experts contend.

On average, Asian students score about 13% higher than white students … who in turn score 13% higher than Hispanics … and 20% higher than blacks.

Said differently, 70% of Asian test takers and 59% of white test takers achieve scores that the College Board says “indicate that a student is likely to have success in college courses.”

Roughly, 30% of Latino and 20% of black applicants reach the CEB performance benchmarks.

So, how to make elite college opportunities available to black and Hispanic applicants?


My first question: How will U of C determine which applicants are, in fact, qualified?

These days, grade inflation is rampant — tending to overstate individual student’s level of achievement and blurring the differences across students.

Student essays are often suspect.  Many are hand-crafted by parents; some are “produced” by a cottage industry of application consultants.

Research has indicated that Interviews are equivocal, at best … depending on the skill and personal biases of the interviewers.

Further, schools are increasingly unwilling to report students’ class ranks … and teachers / administrators who submit references are increasing gun-shy to disclose students’ shortcomings, fearing legal challenges if confidentiality bonds are broken.

So, how will U of C decide who gets in?

Seems like a subjective process that is ripe for – you guessed it – bias.



There’s a 2nd part to the new U of C policy that makes more sense to me.

U of C is committed to giving full scholarships to admitted students whose family incomes are less than $125,000.

I’m all for that … and raises another question:

Rather than ditching the SATs, why don’t schools like U of C hone in on the 30% of Latino and 20% of black applicants who are “certified” by the CEB performance benchmarks?

I would think that full scholarships to the #3 ranked U.S. college would make be a powerful recruitment tool.


P.S. Also look for backlash from Asian-American students who claim that they are being discriminated against.  That’s the situation facing Harvard already. Source


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One Response to “University of Chicago drops SAT / ACT scores … say, what?”

  1. Here’s a way to get your kid into a better college… | The Homa Files Says:

    […] See University of Chicago drops SAT / ACT scores … say, what? […]

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