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CC Announces Test Optional Policy and Colorado Pledge

Colorado College Announces New Policy and Pledge to Increase Access and Affordability

Two new measures have been initiated by Colorado College to ensure that CC is accessible for talented students. The college has adopted a test-optional admission policy in an ongoing effort to increase the academic quality and diversity of its student body. A test-optional policy allows applicants to choose whether or not to submit standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT, as part of their admission application.

The announcement follows the adoption of the Colorado Pledge, a pilot program that boosts access to CC for low- and middle-income students from Colorado.

About the Test-Optional Admission Policy

This change in admission policy, which is supported by the CC faculty, will begin now, with first-year and transfer students applying for entry in fall 2020. The policy aligns with CC’s admission philosophy of holistic review, in which students are valued as more than “a number” and students’ strengths beyond their test scores are considered. The change also supports the college’s strategic plan on improving access.

“Standardized test scores do not always reflect the academic potential of our students from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said Colorado College Assistant Professor of Psychology Kevin Holmes, who served on the Committee on Admission and Financial Aid. “The new test-optional policy removes a barrier to admission for these students.”

“Test scores are only one of many criteria that are considered in an applicant’s academic portfolio,” said Mark Hatch, vice president for enrollment at Colorado College, noting that given the college’s holistic review of applicants, standardized test scores add little to predicting success in college.

CC’s Committee on Admission and Financial Aid spent the 2018-19 academic year considering whether Colorado College should adopt a test-optional admission policy. A number of studies have found that retention and graduation rates are unaffected by test-optional policies and that the high school GPA is a stronger indicator of academic ability and a more reliable predictor of college success.

Additionally, recent studies of standardized testing have made clear the cultural, social, and economic biases of test design. This includes access to preparation materials such as study guides and prep courses, which can improve scores.

Colorado College moved from a standard testing policy (requiring students to submit SAT or ACT scores) in 2010 to a flexible testing policy, which allowed applicants to submit three test scores from a variety of sources.

Read more about Colorado College’s test-optional policy.

About the Colorado Pledge

The Colorado Pledge is a financial aid initiative designed to ensure Colorado College is as affordable for Colorado students from low- and middle-income families as the state’s flagship public university.

The Colorado Pledge is a pilot program aimed at supporting Colorado families with adjusted gross income below $200,000.

“Colorado College is one of only a handful of colleges in the nation to consistently meet the full demonstrated need of every admitted student,” says CC President Jill Tiefenthaler. “The Colorado Pledge goes one step further and is a bold initiative aimed at making a private education as affordable, or more affordable, than many public universities.”

CC’s strategic plan calls for an additional $20 million in fundraising, which will allow the college to endow the program for future students, thus opening the doors more widely to a Colorado College education for the best and brightest students in the state. The college already has received more than $3.5 million from generous donors, including a gift that has been issued as a challenge to other donors to match their own contributions of $50,000 or more to the Colorado Pledge.

Gifts raised for the Colorado Pledge are part of the college’s $435 million Building on Originality: The Campaign for Colorado College that includes a $100 million effort to secure funds for financial aid.

For more information about the Colorado Pledge and the fundraising challenge, contact Mark Hille at (719) 659-9735 or