aurora network logo

Holistic Admission Benefits The Rich?

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 10 July 08 2019

July 2019

Looking at other factors than the SAT or ACT score actually benefits affluent white kids more than students from underrepresented minorities. Or that is at least the first impression from an analysis of how admission to selective American colleges would change if they would look at standard test scores excluding other factors. Researchers from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce report on their “thought experiment” on “SAT only admissions: How would it change college campuses” how they recalculated who would and would not be admitted to the 200 most selective colleges in the US if admissions would be based solely on SAT test scores.
They found that no less than 53% of students actually enrolled would not qualify based on an objective test score only – and of these, also 53% come from more affluent backgrounds. The positive impact of ‘other considerations’ on admission is significantly bigger for affluent white students than for affluent students from other backgrounds – and generally more positive than for any student with lower socio-economic backgrounds.
So would more exclusive reliance on objective tests be the answer? The report shows things are not that easy: A test-based admission only would cause shifts, but not an improvement in terms of inclusion of less affluent students nor of students from underrepresented minorities.
SAT: Scholastic Aptitude Test
ACT: test by the American College Testing organization.

Back to newsletters