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Students will no longer be required to submit SAT or ACT scores when applying to Whitman College.

Beginning with this year's admission cycle, Whitman will move to a test-optional application process for prospective students.

"By making standardized test scores optional, we hope to broaden our already strong applicant pool and increase access for outstanding students from groups who have been historically underrepresented," said Tony Cabasco, dean of admission and financial aid.

Students applying to Whitman will still have the option to submit their scores for consideration in the admission process, but can choose not to if they feel the scores do not accurately reflect their academic abilities. Students who choose not to submit test scores will be given equal consideration for admission and for all forms of financial aid for which they qualify.

Whitman College has assessed the value of standardized test scores in recent years and found that high school GPA was a stronger predictor of academic success at Whitman and that standardized scores were not predictive of whether or not a student will graduate. Some studies indicate performance on the SAT is closely linked to family income and education level, while others suggest a possible testing bias against certain minority students.

"Whitman College values academic achievement, initiative, talent, integrity and potential more than standardized testing, and the move to test-optional applications demonstrates those values," said Cabasco. "Whitman is a place where many different kinds of talented students can thrive."

Whitman's holistic application review process has always considered high school coursework, application essays, recommendation letters, involvement in school and community activities, work history, leadership positions and a variety of other factors. The college encourages future applicants to decide for themselves whether they wish to submit test results as an additional measure of their academic preparedness.

Whitman's decision to move to a test-optional application is part of a national trend. More than 870 colleges and universities do not use standardized tests to admit substantial numbers of applicants, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.