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New Role for the SATs?

No big news at

The University of California made news recently when it proposed abandoning the SATs as an admission requirement. This has brought a great deal of media attention to the SATs and their value and shortcomings in college admissions. Most colleges expressed no plans to throw out the SATs. Others, including some of our peer colleges, do not use them.

What about Albright? We’ve also been asked about our relationship to the SATs. How much emphasis does Albright put on them in the admission process? Are they useful in our process?

In a word, while Albright uses standardized testing as a measure, a student’s SAT or ACT scores have always been only one part of much broader consideration of an applicant. Compared to other colleges, the scores carry a relatively minor weight, certainly not the same level of emphasis they do at some colleges.

Since our beginnings, Albright has always been a school that focuses on the individual as a whole person. That focus begins when a prospective student decides on Albright as a choice. We want to know who this young man or woman is. In what ways does she or he demonstrate excellence? And above all, what potential does this student have that can be realized in the Albright environment?

Our admission counselors first look for overall academic achievement. We look for a solid track record of excellence in the classroom. What courses did the student take? Are there honors courses on the transcript? Good grades in a selection of challenging courses are a much better indicator of future success. We also know from long experience that a student who may have lower SAT scores but has done well in the classroom can be an outstanding achiever at Albright.

Next, we look for the ability to write, a key indicator of college success. And we look for leadership potential. What activities has this prospective student participated in? The arts, volunteer service, athletics? What service to school and community has the candidate exhibited? Students who are involved in outside activities and who give of themselves to others are potentially important members of the Albright community. Our selection process also enables us to ensure diversity on our campus.

Although the media have focused attention on the college admission process, here at Albright it will continue to be business as usual. We are delighted to see applicants with exceptional SAT scores, but it’s just one part of deciding who will be a great Albrightian.

Gregory E. Eichhorn is vice president for enrollment services and dean of admission at Albright College.

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