Admissions officers try to fix admissions

A gaggle of my colleagues gathered in California for a new conference on admissions related topics. This happens a few times each year – the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) has a national conference, and releases the most comprehensive study on the subject, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) has their national meeting, and you also have the CollegeBoard which has a national conference and their “colloquium” where a bunch of admissions deans get together to have another discussion about admissions. There’s about a dozen or so more each year, and I try to attend at least two or three each year.
You’d think after all of those meetings we’d have worked things out by now, but apparently that is not the case. The most recent addition managed to discover that (steady…wait for it) the SAT isn’t a really great tool! An article on the meeting in the Chronicle of Higher Education (which will only link from here for 5 days, since they are a subscriber service) reveals that the SAT isn’t great. It quotes an officer from the CollegeBoard saying that leadership and similar “noncognitive” attributes (those are the ones that aren’t your grades and scores) could be better tools but we need (again…wait for it) better tests.

I think I’ve finally found a way to work in education and get rich! A whole new industry can be built around prep for leadership and self determination testing. Not to actually teach leadership or self determination – just how to score really well on these tests. First I’ll need to develop a really coachable test (kind of like the writing test, but I wouldn’t want it to be that obvious). Then I’ll convince students they can’t possibly get in anywhere if they don’t take it, even if only a few schools look at it. Then I’ll create a prep program for the test. It might take a couple of years, but those of you in middle school can start saving up for my program now (rubs hands together while cackling maniacally). In the meantime, I’d beter finish planning my trip next month to Seattle for the NACAC conference. Wouldn’t want to miss out on the next chance to fix the process! Be seeing you.


7 Responses

  1. Ouch. That’s some stinging sarcasm. 🙂

    I love that college admission officers are starting to note that the SAT and ACT don’t actually work as predictors. I’m starting to feel like maybe there’s a way out of this swamphole that College Board threw us into 50 years ago!

  2. I just appreciate the use of the word “gaggle”

  3. Love the sarcasm… actually it’s discouraging there are so many companies entering college admissions with only “big bucks” on their minds, run by people that have no background in college admissions yet only out to “score $ per student” on various lead generation models. Proud to say we are free and only out to help students and parents… Thanks for the continued good reads…

  4. Roll over the link to see what the group of admissions deans for American medical schools has been developing for the new MCAT (

  5. @ Hunter… Your feedback was interesting and I’ve made it the subject of my weekly blog. Check it out and do add some commentary!

  6. Love this post. Just one more complaint though… Not only do colleges use the SAT and ACT to measure applicants, but they often use equally useless (and teachable) tests to measure their students. If I had a dollar for every multiple choice test I took, I would be a millionaire. Teachers are putting less emphasis on essays and more emphasis on multiple choice, but how is this measuring students real ability to succeed? Does a student’s ability to memorize really mean that they will do well in their career? Even though writing a well thought out essay is a much more accurate predictor of success, the students who can Ace multiple choice tests earn the grades. I’m a terrible test taker, but I can write a fabulous essay. Just a little bitter about this. Sorry.

  7. i want to say more kudos for helping the african students.keep it on… thanks.

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