Whitworth sees increase in diversity since making SAT, ACT test scores optional

There’s more diversity at Whitworth University than ever before, all because of an admissions change made over a decade ago.

Back in 2008, Whitworth decided to make standardized test scores optional on its student applications.

At that time, just 10 percent of Whitworth’s admitted class was made up of students with minority backgrounds or low-income families.

Eleven years later, that number is now 40 percent.

For the last decade, Whitworth applicants have had the choice of a phone interview or to hand in their test scores.

“What we found is by doing a short telephone interview with those students, we were able to admit many students who would not have been admitted otherwise,” said Vice President of Admissions, Greg Orwig.

In that phone interview, students are asked to discuss a previously assigned reading, as they would in an English class.

Oftentimes, standardized test scores don’t tell the whole story about a person. It also helps students from lower-income families, who may not have been given extensive testing preparation.

“There is a lot of data out there that shows a strong correlation between SAT and ACT score with family income,” Orwig said.

On the other hand, many admitted freshman say they don’t even remember what they were tested on.

Alexa Best, a freshman at Whitworth, said it was her AP classes that prepared her most for college.

“Those classes are all year, and they better prepare you for college rather than taking a test that’s supposed to prove you should be good at college when it had no effect on me,” she said.