Press Releases | College Admissions

Don’t Drop the SAT

Colleges and Universities Urged to Continue Merit-Based Admissions
April 17, 2001

WASHINGTON, DC—A national organization devoted to academic excellence today called on the University of California and other colleges and universities not to eliminate the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) from college admission requirements.

In response to University of California President Richard Atkinson’s recent call for the University of California system to abandon the use of the SAT in its evaluation of applicants, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), credits the SAT as the best tool now available to admissions officers if they want to base admissions on the ability of the student.

“A careful analysis of the issue shows that the much-maligned SAT is in fact a good predictor of a student’s academic capability,” said ACTA’s Director of Higher Education Policy George Leef. “Dropping it would leave colleges and universities without any objective means of comparing students. It would be another devastating blow to merit in higher education,” he stated.

According to ACTA, studies on the SAT reveal that those who do well on the SAT usually do well in their studies; those who score poorly generally have difficulty when confronted with challenging college work. That correlation holds regardless of race and socio-economic background.

Atkinson criticized the SAT as being “biased” and “unfair” to minority students. “In fact, those who write the test—in the face of such criticism—have labored to eliminate cultural bias,” said Leef.

Almost all colleges and universities use a combination of high school grades, essays, and interviews along with a standardized test in their admissions process. Grades, essays, and interviews are useful tools, but subjective. “Ignoring standardized test results will make college admissions more arbitrary and less fair,” Leef stated.

ACTA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of alumni and trustees from over 200 colleges and universities, dedicated to academic excellence, freedom and accountability.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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