The CC admissions website states that neither an “arbitrary cutoff point” nor “scores” are deciding factors in the admissions process—a feat that mirrors other liberal arts colleges through holistic admissions.
When comparing CC’s average test admission scores with the national average, it is apparent that CC admissions still favor a higher test score. However, the admissions team at Colorado College looks into many fields of a student’s application to determine whether the applicant is fit for CC.
“We want to see a student who excels in every category,” says Mariegrace Veres, the Assistant Director of Admission.
For the CC class of 2016, the average SAT composite score was 2070 and the average ACT composite score was 31. The 2013 national average for these scores is 1498 for the SAT, according to CollegeBoard, and 20.9 for the ACT, according to the 2013 National and State Scores on the ACT website.
For CC, the transcript holds much more weight than standardized test scores; the admissions team is not just looking for students with high GPAs. They want to see students who have challenged themselves with the most difficult classes that their schools’ curriculum offered.
Colorado College adopted the “flexible testing policy” in 2011, the same year that President Jill Tiefenthaler started at Colorado College.
The “flexible testing policy” at Colorado College offers applicants the opportunity to advertise themselves with tests other than the SAT or ACT. Students are required to submit either their SAT Reasoning Test scores or ACT test, or they have the third option of sending three exams of their chose, which could range from SAT subject tests, IB exams, or even AP exams.
In 2012, President Tiefenthaler published a chapter with Kevin Rask in Joseph A. Soares’ book “SAT Wars: The Case for Test Optional Admissions,” titled “The SAT as a Predictor of Success at a Liberal Arts College.” Rask and President Tiefenthaler’s main argument in their chapter was that standardized testing is not the best indicator of a student’s success.
President Tiefenthaler also argues that standardized testing contributes to the further inequality in higher education because scores are often correlated with parental education backgrounds and income.
One of President Tiefenthaler’s main goals for CC is to increase its diversity, which means accepting students from a variety of cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Often, SAT and standardized test scores limit the variety of acceptable students, which is a shame, as President Tiefenthaler argues in her chapter, since academic excellence does not correlate with a test score.
The CC admissions team also puts heavy emphasis on the Common App personal essay along with CC’s two supplementary essays. They want to accept students who portray passion and who obviously did their research on CC, which means that an applicant who did not understand the Block Plan would most likely not be accepted.
Katlyn Frey, Staff Writer