Elizabeth Byers didn’t really worry about having the academic chops to get in to college.
She was a valedictorian at Reedsburg Area High School, had a 4.0 GPA and had a nice set of scores: a 29 on the ACT and a 1980 on the SAT.
Still, when Lawrence University in Appleton asked if she wanted her test scores to be considered, she checked the “no” box – and breathed a sigh of relief.
“I was just sort of, like, ‘Oh! That’s nice!’ ” Byers said. “So many kids are really great students and don’t have great test scores. I have good test scores, but if they were going to recognize me for what I did in school, I wanted to take advantage of that.”
Lawrence is among a growing list of more than 750 colleges and universities that have some kind of test-optional admissions, according to FairTest, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that opposes heavy reliance on the tests. The trend comes as standardized tests have faced increased scrutiny for possible bias against students who are the first in their family to go to college, minorities or non-native English speakers.