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Standardized Tests Made Optional for Admission to CC

Dear Campus Community,

Colorado 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 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 test-optional policy aligns with Colorado College’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 students from disadvantaged backgrounds,” says 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,” says Mark Hatch, vice president for enrollment, 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.


Jill Tiefenthaler