Research Under Discussion in Plans to Make SAT Optional

Posted: November 14, 2001

Before coming to MHC, the students in the entering class of 2005 had already distinguished themselves in many exciting ways – now add to that the distinction of being the first class to be admitted under an SAT optional policy. While these students were completing their applications for admission, a task force of faculty and administrators, supported by a grant from the Andrew Mellon foundation, was developing a plan to study how our new policy affects admission trends and to compare the academic performance of submitters and non-submitters over the next five years.

In a very preliminary analysis of our first year data, Professor Michael Robinson found some interesting results. Overall, 24% of our applicants chose not to submit their scores and these students were represented in all admission rating categories; in fact, close to 20% of our top rated students were non-submitters. While, as expected, these students had lower SAT scores* than submitters across rating categories, differences in their high school GPA and class rank were not statistically significant – the academic profile of the class entering this year is strikingly similar to last year’s class including the rigor of their high school course load and strength of their writing skills. Worth noting is a regression analysis that revealed that the high school GPAs of non-submitters were significantly higher than would have been predicted by their SAT scores; these students outperformed their standard test scores in high school and we are confident that they will be similarly successful at MHC.

While we are still in the early stages of our research, these early results are encouraging. Once again, the admission office has successfully admitted an excellent class and this year we believe that we have attracted a number of exceptional and highly motivated students who may have hesitated to apply to MHC in the past. Stay tuned!

* Non-submitters’ SAT scores are obtained after the selection process for research purposes only.