What If Colleges Used Only Test Scores to Fill Campuses?

Douglas Belkin:

More than half the students now enrolled at the top 200 colleges and universities would lose their seats to students who performed better on the test—and the median SAT score would rise by 70 points to 1320, the study found.

The biggest losers in this reshuffling were black and Latino students, whose numbers would be cut nearly in half, to 11% of all students from 19%. The share of Asian students would slip to 10% from 11%. The principal winners were wealthy white male students, whose ranks would increase. But a large number of white students would lose their seats and be replaced with other white students.

“The affluent have extraordinary advantages in college admissions,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, director of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, which performed the analysis. Until 2005, Mr. Carnevale was a vice president at Educational Testing Service, which is a client of The College Board and administers the SAT.

Many elite colleges consider a range of factors such as grades, extracurricular activities and teacher recommendations in what they call a holistic admissions approach. They also try to build a diverse student body and might look for students from underrepresented ethnic or racial backgrounds or geographical regions.