The SATs are every high school student’s worst nightmare. Countless hours of preparation spent with expensive textbooks and review classes for a test that essentially determines a student’s college career. But what if the SATs do not reveal a student’s real intelligence and only benefit those who are gifted test-takers or can afford the review books and courses? This is a question that many colleges and universities throughout the country have been asking, including Fairfield University.’

Director of Undergraduate Admissions Karen Pellegrino supports the new SAT-optional trend that is hitting colleges and universities around the country. Pellegrino claims this change gives the Admissions staff the chance to look at the applicant in a holistic view instead of relying on a number.’

If a student chooses to opt out of sending in his or her SAT scores, the student will write an additional essay that will give the University greater insight into the student.

Nonetheless, the intent for the essay is not to make the student write what the University wants to hear, but to make the applicant think. The question will likely relate to Jesuit ideals and values or the living and learning option, to better see the students interest in what Fairfield has to offer.

The reason behind Fairfield’s switch to an SAT-optional school goes back to the school’s Jesuit roots to educate the whole person or cura personalis. Since Fairfield is looking at the whole person, it is a smart move to make the SATs optional. Many students do well in school, but are simply not test-takers or cannot afford the Princeton Review or Kaplan SAT prep courses. In addition, studies show that the SAT is not a reliabke predictor of how well students will perform in their first year of college.

Regardless, Pellegrino predicts that about 80 percent of applicants will still submit SAT scores, so the application process is not being completely altered that much. The University does hope that students who once thought acceptance to Fairfield was a lost cause will now rethink applying to Fairfield without one less factor on their application.
Considering rankings, Fairfield is not worried about the new SAT-optional policy affecting the school’s overall rankings since most of the schools that have adopted this policy are top tier schools.

While Fairfield is taking a step in the right direction and most applicants will certainly appreciate the new policy, the pressure to perform on the SAT still remains. Pellegrino shares in our opinion that the SATs will not disappear soon, to the dismay of high school students everywhere.’ But if you are reading this, it is likely that the SAT part of your life is over, but don’t forget about the impending MKAT, the GMAT, the GRE, the MAT…

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