Sarah Lawrence College announces that beginning with the high school graduating class of 2005, students will no longer be required to submit standardized test scores as part of their applications for admission. Though considered for several years, the decision was precipitated by changes to the SAT that will go into effect in 2005. Among those changes is the addition of a brief writing section that the College has determined would not be helpful in its admission process given the nature of the writing required at Sarah Lawrence.
“While the changes to the SAT are well intentioned, we feel that it is important at this time for our admission policy to reflect our belief that standardized testing is not effective in evaluating a student's ability to succeed in a writing-based curriculum such as ours,” said Thyra Briggs, dean of Admission. Almost all courses require papers, and most require students to complete long-term independent projects resulting in substantial written work. Tests are rare.
Sarah Lawrence has never put much emphasis on test scores in the admission process, focusing instead on the rigor of students’ high school courses, their academic success as reflected in grades and teacher recommendations, and their ability to write. Writing is at the core of the Sarah Lawrence application, which requires multiple essays as well as a graded academic writing sample.
The College’s decision to eliminate standardized test scores from the application process was also bolstered by what the College observes as an unhealthy obsession with test results. “The proliferation of test prep courses and tutoring for the SATs has been steadily adding stress to an already stressful application process,” said Briggs. “Further, we have become increasingly concerned that as more affluent students avail themselves of costly test preparation, they are gaining an unfair advantage over others,” she said.