In 2006, Hobart and William Smith Colleges decided to become standardized test optional, meaning applicants would choose whether HWS would use scores (SAT or ACT) in our admissions evaluation process.* Our President, Provost and Vice President for Enrollment all agreed that given our limited reliance on these test scores in the decision-making process and their minimal usefulness in measuring qualities we value highly – curiosity, conscientiousness and character – we would allow applicants to choose whether or not to submit scores for our review. Our admissions process has always relied most heavily on a student’s high school transcript, including grade performance and rigor of courses selected, with significant consideration given to the recommendations, essay, extracurricular activities, community involvement and the admissions interview.
Now several years into this policy, our applicants have found the change refreshing as they had a choice in how they presented themselves for consideration in our highly competitive applicant pool.
*For those applying for the Trustee and/or Blackwell Medical Scholarship Programs, submission of standardized test scores (SAT or ACT) is required. In addition, standardized test scores are required for those applicants who attend a school (or are home schooled) that does not provide a traditional transcript. If English is not your native language, we require submission of either the TOEFL or IELTS scores.