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Here is the downside to ‘test optional’ college admissions: column

Greater diversity in elite college admissions will be a mixed blessing at best for recently admitted students, caution James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley in a column for City Journal.

They trot out a series of glowing quotes from administrators at top colleges celebrating a diverse incoming class. Harvard’s dean of admissions, for instance, bragged, “We have the most diverse class in the history of Harvard this year, economically and ethnically.”

Piereson and Riley warn:

The celebrations may have come too early. Many of these admissions decisions, administrators say, happened because their schools went “test-optional.” Dropping the requirement that students submit SAT or ACT scores meant that admissions officers could rely only on grades, essays, and recommendations. Thus students with lower scores may have been more willing to apply to schools they otherwise would have considered a reach.

And in some cases, the students’ reach will exceed their grasp.

The scholars point out that students at more rigorous schools who are struggling often salvage their investment by switching to less rigorous majors than, say, more highly remunerative STEM tracks.

This can have inhibiting effects on those students’ future careers. Or, put more baldly:

[A]dmitting students with lower SAT scores to fulfill diversity quotas may prevent those students from achieving their academic and career goals—something they might have done at a lower-tier school.

Read the whole column.

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