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WPI No Longer Considering SAT Or ACT Test Scores For Admission, Citing 'Problematic Correlations'

WORCESTER (CBS) -- The SAT and ACT are no longer just optional for applicants to Worcester Polytechnic Institute - the school is eliminating test scores from its admissions process altogether. WPI said it's one of the first STEM universities to go fully "test blind," starting with Fall 2021 application cycle.

The eight-year pilot program to drop the tests from admissions consideration was approved by faculty, the school said in an announcement Monday.

"I'm proud that WPI is one of the very first STEM universities to fully eliminate the test score barrier," said WPI President Laurie Leshin in a statement. "We know that a WPI education can change a person's lifelong career trajectory, and is a highly effective engine of social mobility. This is particularly true for women, underrepresented students of color, economically disadvantaged students, and other diverse populations, who are often among those students whose test scores may discourage them from seeing themselves on our campus."

WPI went "test optional" in its admissions process back in 2007. The school says low test scores may discourage good students from applying, while also creating an unfair advantage for wealthier students who can afford test prep courses.

"Standardized test scores are not necessary to make admissions decisions," said Andrew Palumbo, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management and Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid, in a statement. "They have been found to have problematic correlations with family income, gender, race and ethnicity, and parental education level."

WPI said it has seen a higher percentage of women and students of color admitted since going test optional, and GPA scores have also gone up. About 70 universities have also gone test blind in the past year, according to WPI.

Last summer, Harvard University dropped the standardized test requirement for Class of 2025 applicants, citing challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.


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