For Immediate Release

Contact: Deborah Gilleran 732.987.2266 or
Tara Strickland 732.987.2291
gillerand@georgian.edu


Georgian Court University Goes SAT Optional

Lakewood, N.J., June 7, 2007—Georgian Court University announced today that beginning with the Fall 2008 semester, admission to the university will be SAT optional. The policy of not requiring SAT/ACT scores for admission is part of a national trend to provide a more balanced, personal, and holistic approach to the admission process.

“Making SAT/ACT optional eases the admission process for many students.  It takes away anxiety and excessive reliance on standardized tests,” says Georgian Court University Provost Joseph Gower, Ph.D.

“In the past, a lot of the admissions process has gone ‘by the numbers’,” which he says often do not accurately and fairly judge an applicant’s future performance.  Instead, Georgian Court will now gauge students by what personal qualities, values, and skills they bring to the campus.

“We want to ask students about their extracurricular interests?  What do you bring to Georgian Court other than that you are a good test-taker?” Dr. Gower said. “Georgian Court University stresses the individual person.”

According to The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest.org), 740 four-year colleges and universities currently do not use SAT or ACT scores – and the list grows almost daily.

“We have seen all sorts of institutions embracing test score-optional admissions, including a number of prominent women’s institutions,” said Robert Schaeffer, Public Education Director of FairTest.

Dr. Gower attributes much of the shift among women’s colleges and universities to evidence showing that women are often disadvantaged by standardized testing.

“SATs on average underpredict for women and overpredict for men,” says Mr. Schaeffer.

FairTest credits the testing gender inequity to the timed, multiple-choice format of the exams, and says the bias against females is demonstrated by the fact that females receive better grades in college – the single outcome that the SAT is supposed to predict – when matched with male counterparts.  Yet, women historically score 35 to 40 points lower on the SATs than men.

Mr. Schaeffer admits, however, that the change makes admissions work harder for university staffers.

“This works for institutions of all sorts provided they are willing to invest in the staff needed to look at applicants as more than test scores,” he says.

Dr. Gower concurs.  “This new policy will sometimes makes it more difficult for admissions personnel, but we will know more about the students than just a set of numbers,” he says.

Mr. Schaeffer explained that every college that has dropped required testing reports it being worth the investment because they end up with a more diverse class, “because they have taken the time to look beyond the number to the richness of a person’s background and interests,” he says.

Studies show that test-score optional admissions make degrees available to a more diverse group of students while maintaining quality of education.

In 1984, Bates College, a Maine institution ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the nation, was among the first to make the SAT optional.  USA Today reported in April 2006 that a 20-year study of the Bates College policy shows statistically little difference in academic performance and graduation rates among students who did not submit SAT scores compared with students who did.  Bates also found application rates among minority and low-income students rose, the April 2006 article said.

Boiling down the new SAT/ACT-optional policy at Georgian Court, the GCU provost  says, “We find they are more of an obstacle than a help,” and making testing optional is “a healthier way to approach the education process.”

To learn more about the Georgian Court University SAT/ACT-optional policy, contact the Office of Admissions at 732.987.2760 or email admissions@georgian.edu.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves nearly 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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