Changes in NESCAC admissions policies

In the past couple of weeks, multiple NESCAC schools have implemented changes in their application processes.

The past decade has seen a hostile reaction against U.S. college admissions testing. Many people consider it unfair that schools require standardized test scores, because often times students have test scores that don’t adequately reflect their academic performance. This can discourage students from applying to some selective NESCAC schools because of their high reported average for the tests. Some schools have decided to become “test-flexible,” meaning applicants still have to report some form of standardized testing, while others have become all together test-optional, meaning applicants can opt out of reporting scores altogether. A large number of NESCAC schools have started to agree with the sentiment that standardized testing is not necessarily indicative of academic preparedness in all students.

Recently, Trinity College decided to join the group of schools that are test-optional. Applicants for the Class of 2020 will no longer need to submit SAT or ACT test scores as part of their application to the school. Angel Pérez, recently appointed Vice President of Enrollment and Student Success at Trinity, told the Trinity Tripod that going test-optional attracts students who would have otherwise been deterred by the requirement. He added that too often, students with strong academic records  shy away from applying to schools such as Trinity because of the institution’s high average SAT or ACT scores. Furthermore, Pérez told the Tripod that the college has decided to add a specific essay to the Common Application. In addition to the traditional required Common App essay, prospective students will have two options for this new essay, focusing either on the Trinity or Hartford community.

Likewise, Amherst College has decided to implement some changes in its application process. Amherst has joined 80 other colleges and universities in implementing an alternative college application program, the Coalition Application. The Coalition Application is designed to make the application and financial aid process easier.  An alternative to the Common Application, the Coalition Application is used by prestigious schools such as Williams, Swarthmore, Pomona, and Ivy League universities. Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Katie Fretwell ’81 told the Amherst Student that the addition of the Coalition Application would hopefully strengthen Amherst’s commitment to helping students from a wide variety of backgrounds as they go through the college process.

Ultimately, the overarching goal of all NESCAC schools seems to be one of inclusion and access. The steps that Trinity and Amherst have made in the past weeks are all in an attempt to increase the number of students that are active, engaged, and curious.

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