Waning reliance on test scores, GPAs a mixed bag for low-income students

Amid grade-inflation, two redesigns of the SAT in 15 years, and a greater focus on bringing diverse students to campus, college admissions officers are increasingly looking beyond traditional applicant criteria, The Atlantic reports. Many colleges are putting less weight on grade point average, due to the sheer volume of 4.0 GPAs, and more than 1,000 colleges have dropped standardized testing requirements for entry, citing correlations between test scores and family income.

But these shifts have opened the door to more subjective considerations, and The Atlantic notes that some university admission boards are taking into greater account students’ “demonstrated interest” in that particular school as a way to qualify them as the “right fit” for the institution. However, some common demonstrations of interest, such as college site visits and early admission applications, may be more feasible for applicants with a certain level of financial security. For example, a wealthier student would have the financial freedom to fly out to prospective schools or commit to a college in advance regardless of the financial aid package.

Furthermore, admissions officers at about half of the institutions surveyed by the National Association for College Admission Counseling said an applicant’s “ability to pay” was of at least “some importance” in application decisions. In such situations, decreasing reliance on scores and GPAs may actually hurt the chances of lower-income applicants.

Georgetown University admits and enrolls students without regard to their financial circumstances and is committed to meeting students’ full demonstrated financial need. For more information on Georgetown’s approach as one of the nation’s few need-blind, meet-full-need institutions, visit the financial aid landing page.

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