As college students around the nation start to gear up for school, colleges are already looking ahead to next year’s incoming class. Temple University announced a new option for students looking for a spot in their fall 2015 class.
Called “The Temple Option,” this new program allows applicants that have a weak score in standardized tests to have another option to prove that they are a good fit for Temple.
Rather than submitting a score, applicants can complete a set of special, short answer questions. These questions are meant to give trained readers an idea about the applicant’s personality. Temple believes that the answers to these questions are a better reflection of a prospective student than a standardized score alone.
In a press release from July 29, 2014, Temple’s provost, Hai-Lung Dai, mentions how this move will help to break down the socioeconomic barriers underprivileged applicants face.
“…if we are to stay true to our mission of access and affordability, we cannot ignore the mounting evidence that standardized test scores inject socioeconomic bias into the admissions and financial aid equations. By evaluating noncognitive factors, we believe we will attract even more highly capable and motivated students.”
While Temple’s move away from standardized scores is controversial, it is hardly alone in this move. Universities such as Kansas State, Wake Forest, and Montclair State have also given students another option in the admissions process.
Many of these universities also cite the same reasons as Temple for eliminating the need for standardized testing. In a press release from May 27th 2008, Wake Forest University’s director of admissions Martha Allman places the reasoning for the decision on increasing opportunities for the underprivileged: “By making the SAT and ACT optional, we hope to broaden the applicant pool and increase access at Wake Forest for groups of students who are currently underrepresented at selective universities.”
Even though this option reduces the pressure for prospective students, it does have a few limits and exceptions. Certain groups of applicants, such as international and home-schooled students, still need to submit a test score to be considered for admission. In addition, students who choose to submit an application through the Temple Option cannot switch back to submitting a standardized test score, and vice-versa.
However, in the press release, Temple University is also quick to point out that applicants who apply through the Temple Option are still eligible for aid. This includes need-based financial aid, as well as merit scholarships. In addition, applicants can also be considered in Temple’s Honors program.
Despite these limitations, a wide number of applicants from underprivileged backgrounds are covered under this new change in the admissions process. Students who have been undereducated throughout their life due to their financial situation have another chance to get a college-level education.