Oakland, CA—July 13, 2018
Two years ago, Mills became one of nearly 200 top-tier schools nationwide that have made standardized test scores optional. As part of its commitment to making higher education accessible to as many talented students as possible, Mills does not require students to submit Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT) scores as part of its admission process.
“The admissions office focuses on other parts of the application including grades, recommendations, essays, or other unique material a student chooses to submit, says Mills College Provost and Dean of the Faculty Chinyere Oparah. "We actually have a holistic review, so we are more interested in the story the student is telling. Who are they? What have they achieved? Where are they going?”
Sarah Swope, a Mills biology professor who runs a sought after research program for the college's top science students says she used to look at students' SAT or ACT scores when considering applications for the program, but not anymore.
"I personally have been paying attention to student scores for about 10 years. And over that period, I have never seen a relationship between performance on SATs and ACTs and their success either in a research setting or academically," Swope said.
Students ABC7 News spoke with were enthusiastic about the idea of choosing whether to submit test scores.
"If you have a good score, then why not just boost your application? But I think (the test optional policy) is a really good opportunity for groups who don't have access to SAT prep classes," said Mills junior Tatyana Soto.
According to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing that tracks colleges and university testing policies, over 1,000 accredited four-year colleges now have policies with some sort of testing flexibility. About 175 colleges are fully test-optional.