If there is one certainty in college admissions, it is change. Each new application cycle brings new policies and programs for students and parents to be aware of, and it can be challenging to keep up. Below, we highlight some of the biggest changes for the 2019-2020 application season.

1. The test optional trend continues

There is an ever-growing number of high-profile colleges jumping on the test-optional bandwagon. After studying the academic performance of their entering classes over several years, these schools have concluded that there is a limited correlation between standardized test scores and college success.

In the first half of 2019, the most notable colleges to make the leap were:

  • Bucknell University
  • Colorado College
  • Marquette University
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • University of Denver
  • University of Rochester (now fully test-optional, after being test-flexible for several years)
  • University of San Francisco

As the test-optional movement has gained momentum, there is a growing list of excellent university choices for students who might have struggled with the SAT and ACT, as well as those who may not have taken standardized exams at all. Watch this space for more updates – there are sure to be even more universities that follow suit in the year to come.

2. Changes to Early Action and Early Decision policies at many prominent colleges

In response to declining yield rates at colleges across the United States, many institutions are looking to revise their early admissions practices to hit their enrollment targets.

3. Self-reporting test scores is becoming more common

In recent years, more colleges have become willing to accept self-reported SAT and ACT scores from students during the application process. In most cases, scores are reported directly on the Common Application, though some universities require them to be sent by a school counselor. These schools require official scores only when the student officially enrolls into their chosen college. As everyone knows, the college application process can be quite expensive; hence wider acceptance of self-reporting allows students to save hundreds of dollars by avoiding the CollegeBoard and ACT organization’s $12 fee for sending scores.

Harvard University, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Northwestern University, Stanford University, University of Chicago, Yale University are among a growing list of colleges to accept self-reported scores. However, we strongly recommend checking the policy at each school you are applying to, as some colleges have different policies for international applicants as well as home-schooled applicants.

I understand that the college application process can be confusing and overwhelming for students and parents, especially with the constant changes in the requirements from colleges. If you find yourself wondering how some of these changes affects your chances of admission, get in touch to set up a free initial consultation with me.