Article link: https://nyti.ms/2KwqchU The University of Chicago, a highly selective and top ranked university, recently announced that they are dropping their SAT/ACT score requirement for applicants. The change has generated a lot of good press for them, and they are the first elite United States university to make such a change. The requirements were dropped, according to university leaders, in order to increase diversity at the school. Chicago in particular lacks economic diversity, and is in fact the least economic diverse elite school in the country.
Although the announcement has been met with attention and praise, some are skeptical that the change will actually increase diversity. In fact, research shows that admissions policies that place more weight on personal statements and extracurricular activities benefit more affluent students. There are also concerns that University of Chicago has made this change only to address criticisms of their lack of diversity, without having the desire to make real change. I personally am not against removing the SAT/ACT requirements, but I don't think it should be hailed as some sort of cure for University of Chicago's diversity problem. For one, even without the research mentioned above, I can see how valuing extracurricular activities and the personal statement would benefit richer students. I assume that the problem with the SAT/ACT test requirement is that students who cannot afford prep courses, materials, or tutors have a disadvantage compared to those who can afford such resources.
I agree that this is a problem, but I also think that it's possible to still do well on standardized tests without expensive preparation, even though a clear disadvantage exists. However, extracurriculars are different--if a student cannot afford to take part in boy scouts, club sports, or other organizations from a young age, they might appear to have less impressive extracurricular achievements through no fault of their own. Additionally, poorer students with more difficult home lives, some of whom may work to support their families, might generally have less time to devote to extracurriculars. Finally, as a writing tutor, I can speak firsthand about the amount of help that more affluent students receive on crafting their personal statements, which less affluent students have to write and edit without any help. Is University of Chicago's decision to remove SAT/ACT score requirements a good way to increase diversity? Please share your thoughts.