Colleges Explore Shades of Gray in Making Entrance Tests Optional

Ursinus College considered fairness and ideals as well as marketing and logistics

Colleges Explore Shades of Gray in Making Entrance Tests Optional 1

Sarah Bones for The Chronicle

Last year Richard DiFeliciantonio (right), vice president for enrollment at Ursinus College, hired a new admissions director, Richard Floyd, whose questions about the role of test scores prompted Ursinus to reconsider its stance.

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close Colleges Explore Shades of Gray in Making Entrance Tests Optional 1

Sarah Bones for The Chronicle

Last year Richard DiFeliciantonio (right), vice president for enrollment at Ursinus College, hired a new admissions director, Richard Floyd, whose questions about the role of test scores prompted Ursinus to reconsider its stance.

When a college stops requiring standardized admissions tests, no rainbow magically appears. Its endowment doesn't grow, and its costs don't shrink. Presidents still worry, professors still complain, and students still drink too much on Saturday nights.

Nonetheless, tales of going "test optional" often have a romantic tinge. In them, admissions deans, worried about equity and anxious teenagers, finally decide to do the right thing by casting off those terrible tests. After that,