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BSC moves to test-optional admission

BSC moves to test-optional admission

For Immediate Release
Aug. 17, 2016

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--Birmingham-Southern College announced Wednesday, Aug. 17 that the college is moving to a test-optional application for prospective students, joining the growing ranks of nationally ranked colleges and universities to do so.

Beginning this fall, students applying to BSC will decide whether to report their scores for standardized college admission tests such as the ACT or SAT. Those who do not include test scores will have their qualification for admission determined by an evaluative interview and an academic portfolio that will include graded papers or school projects with teacher comments, in addition to the regular measures of applicants such as grade point average, high school ranking, and extracurricular activities.

“This move will in no way compromise the caliber of our incoming class or reduce BSC’s admission standards,” said Sara Newhouse, Vice President for Admission and Financial Planning. “Rather, we hope it gives bright, engaged students who fear BSC is out of their reach another way to apply.”

Dozens of schools around the country have added test-optional admission, including such high-quality institutions as Bowdoin College, Bates College, Wake Forest University, Middlebury College, Colorado College, Beloit College, George Washington University, and Colby College.

Schools that have made the switch have found that doing so broadens their application pool and increases applications from students of color, women, first-generation students, and students with learning differences--all groups that have traditionally fared poorly on standardized tests even though they excel in college.

BSC is also adding Early Decision to its admission options to allow students who know early in their college search that BSC is the best fit for them to stand out during the application process. Early Decision, which is common among elite colleges and universities, requires students to commit to attending if they are admitted.

“There are already so many barriers to higher education that some of these students have to scale, and we’re trying to ensure that everyone has access to the kind of high-quality educational experience we offer at BSC,” Newhouse said. “None of our students are just a number to us--we judge all applicants as individuals with growth potential who will bring their own strengths to the Hilltop.”

About Birmingham-Southern College:
Birmingham-Southern College is a four-year, private liberal arts institution in Birmingham, Ala., founded in 1856 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It enrolls about 1,300 students from more than 30 states and 15 foreign countries.