Many colleges have taken the first step toward freedom from the use of standardized tests. Test Optional schools do not require SAT or ACT scores be submitted with an application. If, however, a student wants to send test scores, the school will look at them. Great, you say. But, if you’re like us, you can’t help but wonder if not sending test scores sends a negative message.
Enter Hampshire College, located in Amherst, Massachusetts. (Pa'k the ca' in Ha'va'd Ya'd.) It's part of the Five College Consortium that includes Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and UMass Amherst. The bold folks at Hampshire have gone Test Blind, meaning they don't ask for nor will they accept standardized test scores.
Hampshire went test blind this past application cycle and recently revealed the results. Turns out, the news is good!. The percentage of accepted students that enrolled increased by 50%. The average GPA of incoming students remained stable at 3.5. A slightly higher number of minority and first generation students applied and were accepted. And, most importantly, the sky hasn't fallen.
Interestingly, Hampshire is no longer being ranked by U.S. News and World Report, the nation’s most popular college ranking organization. While we feel that these rankings are spurious, they are, unfortunately, influential. Hampshire was willing to take the risk of not being ranked in order to support what many believe--that test scores are not good predictors of college success.
But not so fast: the test blind policy doesn’t mean that it’s easier to apply to Hampshire. The school looks at the Common App along with writing samples and challenging supplemental essays to get a feeling for each applicant. We hope that Hampshire’s approach will encourage other schools to venture into this new, test blind, territory.