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Testing FAQ

Why did Colorado College make the change to flexible testing?
Colorado College was founded in 1874, two years before Colorado became a state. The pioneering spirit and the innovative approach to education is maintained today as evidenced by our unique Block Plan schedule where students take, and faculty teach, one course at a time. We value a student’s passion for learning, curiosity about the world, and unique approach to learning. These qualities and attributes – and not always standardized test scores – often translate to success as students pursue their own unique intellectual adventure within the Block Plan. According to a recent report released by the College Board®, a growing number of underrepresented students – including first generation to college students and American ethnic minorities – have access to and are choosing to take AP as well as SAT Subject Tests. The Committee on Admission and Financial Aid at Colorado College strongly believes that our new flexible testing policy will allow all students greater flexibility and opportunity to convey to the Admission Committee what they consider to be their academic strengths and talents.

How do I know which of the options will make my application look stronger?
The policy is designed to ensure that you direct the Admission Committee to those test results that best reflect your academic interests and readiness. For instance, you could choose to report the SAT Reasoning Test (SAT) or the ACT if you believe that these scores are the most accurate indicators of your academic performance and potential. If you select the Flexible Testing Option, we will select the best combination of scores based upon those on file through testing services and your school transcript. We recommend you confer with your counselor to determine which option, and which tests, may best describe your present readiness and future promise for college.

How do I report the tests I wish to select for consideration in my application?
You must indicate which option you wish to elect on the Common Application Supplement. If you choose the third, flexible option, you will select the three tests you plan to submit with your application from the drop-down menu of tests. If you did not identify Colorado College as a score recipient at the time of testing, you are required to contact the appropriate testing agency and request that they submit official scores to the Colorado College admission office using the institutional codes listed below (some IB exam scores may be sent directly from the high school).

If your high school does not officially report IB exams
http://www.ibo.org

Institutional Codes
SAT 4072
ACT 0498
TOEFL 4072

Websites
SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and AP exams: http://sat.collegeboard.com/scores/send-sat-scores
ACT: http://www.actstudent.org/scores/send/index.html 

What if the Admission Committee learns of scores I do not wish to report (i.e., via my transcript, or automatic reporting from the testing organization)?
The submission and receipt of test scores is a very fluid series of official changes to student records and the Admission Committee inevitably learns of new test scores throughout the course of our committee review and selection process. Throughout our review and selection process, the Admission Committee will refer to the Colorado College Common Application Supplement or a more recent written correspondence from you stating your final test choices. While we may consider other available official test scores in your application, the Committee will do so only if these test scores highlight an academic strength that will enhance our holistic review of your application. However, only the test scores you selected will be formally evaluated.

If I choose the SAT, which scores will you consider?
When we have multiple SAT score reports on file for you, we formulate a “super-score” selecting the best individual Math score and your best individual Critical Reading score. We then combine these two scores to obtain your “super-score.” We do not evaluate the SAT Writing test when you select the SAT test option.

If I choose the ACT, which scores will you consider?
When we have multiple ACT score reports on file for you, we will select the best available Composite score.

If I choose to submit the SAT or ACT and not elect the more flexible option, what are the average scores for students admitted to Colorado College?
We have historically reported median test scores for our admitted students. Below are the median scores for the class of 2016.

Median scores for the admitted class of 2017

SAT Critical Reading 690
SAT Math 680
SAT Writing 680
SAT Composite (2400 scale) 2050
ACT English 32
ACT Math 29
ACT Composite 30

May I simply submit all my scores and entrust the Admission Committee to calculate the best combination for my application?
You must elect one of the three policy options on the Common Application Member Questions. If you select the Flexible Testing Option, we will select the best combination of scores based upon those on file through testing services and your school transcript.

In Category B, why is ACT Reading not approved?
The content of this reading test includes specific Social Studies/Natural Sciences and Arts/Literature reading skills. Since the content of this test is focused on curriculum rather than general reading comprehension, we did not approve it for inclusion in that category. However, ACT Reading is an approved test for Category C.

What is the latest date I can take a test to have it considered?
SAT (http://sat.collegeboard.com/register/sat-dates)

  • Early Action: October exam
  • Early Decision I: October exam
  • Early Decision II: December exam
  • Regular Decision: December exam

ACT (http://www.actstudent.org/regist/dates.html)

  • Early Action: October exam
  • Early Decision I: October exam
  • Early Decision II: December exam
  • Regular Decision: December exam

For other test dates, visit the below testing agencies’ websites:

AP exams: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/cal.html
IB exams: http://www.ibo.org/documentlibrary/examinationschedules/index.cfm

If I have not submitted official scores by my application deadline, will the Admission Committee default to other scores submitted via my transcript or the testing organization?
Yes. If the admission office does not receive official tests scores by the required deadline, we will default to other officially reported scores that fulfill our standardized test requirement. For instance, if you submit a quantitative test, a verbal/writing test and a third test of your choice, but we do not have the quantitative score, we may consider another score if available. In the case of defaulting to official scores received by the application deadline, the Admission Committee will attempt to combine the scores that best reflect your academic strengths and interests.

As an international applicant, do I still need to submit an English assessment?
If you attend a school where English is not the language of instruction, and English is not your first language, we recommend an English proficiency exam to best demonstrate your abilities, though one is not required.

As an international applicant, which English proficiency exams are approved?
You may submit the following tests for consideration by our admission committee:

 Exam  Recommended score:
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) 100 or higher on iBT scale 
 Pearson Test of English Academic  68 or higher
 IELTS  7.0 or higher

How important are test scores relative to other academic and co-curricular accomplishments?
The Admission Committee adheres to a holistic approach in their review of admission applications, carefully weighing both quantitative and qualitative measures of success and student potential. Each applicant’s academic performance, their record of personal accomplishments, and the extent of their involvement and contribution to her or his community is taken into consideration during our comprehensive review and selection process. For more information about our application evaluation practices, visit http://www.coloradocollege.edu/admission/firstyear/evaluation.asp.

Why not make tests optional all-together?
Given the host of variations in grading standards across the nation and throughout the world, the Admission Committee believes that standardized assessments offer an objective tool for comparing and assessing a student’s relative preparedness for academic success in college. More importantly, while scores are never the ultimate deciding factor in our admission decisions, the Admission Committee believes that standardized testing, together with other qualitative measures of a student’s demonstrated strengths and talents, remains a reliable method for making admission decisions.

Is this a permanent policy change for admission at Colorado College?
The Committee on Admission and Financial Aid at Colorado College adopted the new testing policy for a trial period of not less than three years. Upon completion of this trial, the college will review and conduct an extensive analysis of the research data to determine if we will continue the policy or appropriately modify it further based on our research findings.