As part of its continued efforts to attract and enroll the most talented students from all backgrounds, Colby College announced today that the submission of standardized test scores will now be an optional element of a student’s application for admission.
In recent years Colby’s innovative programs and commitment to access have led to a dramatic expansion of its admissions applicant pool, with 12,313 applications for the Class of 2022, resulting in exceptionally well-prepared students applying to the College and making it one of the most sought-after educations in the country.
“The demand for a Colby education has never been greater, but we are always looking for ways to enhance our ability to identify and enroll students who are most likely to contribute to and benefit from the distinctive education we offer,” said Colby President David A. Greene. “Our goal continues to be to ensure that we are fully opening our doors to deserving and talented students of all backgrounds, including those whose talents are ideally suited for our education and success later in life but are not effectively measured by standardized tests. It is essential that we identify students who will extend the boundaries of knowledge, whose intellectual depth and dynamism will challenge our conventions, and whose power of analysis and interpretation will reveal critical insights into the human condition and issues of a global and universal scale.”
The limited ability of standardized tests to assess a range of intellectual attributes Colby values and that are rewarded in an innovation economy is one reason the College is changing its admission policy. There are others, including a body of research that demonstrates how students from under-resourced backgrounds are disadvantaged by the testing industry. Through Colby’s own research and through national studies, standardized tests have been shown to have only modest predictive powers for success in college.
Colby’s research using recent classes demonstrated that the College’s comprehensive assessment tools allow the admissions office to select, regardless of test scores, students who will successfully navigate the rigorous curriculum offered by the College. And Colby, as among the nation’s most selective colleges, recognizes how the global competition for access to leading institutions, exacerbated in part by high-stakes testing, is contributing to the rise of anxiety in high school students and their families about the college admissions process. This change should allow students to submit applications that are more individually tailored to their achievements and talents.
In the past several years, Colby has made significant moves to ensure its accessibility to the broadest group of high-achieving students. As part of that commitment, all admitted students receive a financial aid package meeting 100 percent of their family’s demonstrated need without including student loans. And for those families with a total household income of $60,000 (approximately the median household income in the United States) or less and assets typical of that range, no parent/guardian contribution is expected.
“Our test-optional policy is one part of a comprehensive program that aims to show high-achieving students that a Colby education is within reach,” said Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Matt Proto. “We want to be able to consider all of these students for admission and to offer the most-qualified students everything they need to be able to attend.”
In order to ensure that, once enrolled, all students have access to the same opportunities, in 2017 Colby launched DavisConnects, an integrated program designed to provide students with guaranteed access to global, research, and internship experiences regardless of their personal networks, connections, and financial means.