The University of Chicago on Thursday morning announced that it was dropping the requirement that all undergraduate applicants submit SAT or ACT scores.
While a number of prominent liberal arts colleges have stopped requiring the SAT or ACT, Chicago is among the first top research university to drop the requirement. Typically, the University has not had any problem attracting top applicants. In fact, the class that enrolled in September 2017, the university received 27,694 applicants and admitted 2,419. The middle 50 percent of the range of SAT scores of admitted applicants was 1460 to 1550.
The test-optional policy applies to all students from the United States. The university also announced an expansion of financial aid and other new policies designed to attract more low-income and first-generation students.
Going forward the university will provide:
- Full tuition scholarships for students whose families earn less than $125,000.
- Scholarships of $20,000 over four years, and a guaranteed paid summer internship, for all first-generation students.
- Special new scholarships for veterans and the children of police officers, firefighters and veterans.
In addition, the university announced a new program in which it will invite students to submit a two-minute video introduction of themselves. And the university will allow self-submission of transcripts to minimize the need for students to pay fees.
“Today, many underresourced and underrepresented students, families and school advisers perceive top-ranked colleges as inaccessible if students do not have the means to help them stand out in the application process,” said James G. Nondorf, vice president and dean of admissions at Chicago. He added that UChicago Empower, as the initiatives are collectively being called, “levels the playing field, allowing first-generation and low-income students to use technology and other resources to present themselves as well as any other college applicant. We want students to understand the application does not define you — you define the application.”