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Montclair State first in NJ to make SAT scores optional

With a change to the college application process this month, Montclair State University becomes the first public institution in New Jersey to make SAT scores optional.

Instead, the school is focusing more on an applicant’s high school grade point average, completed courses and involvement in school activities.

students taking a test
Fuse, ThinkStock

“We found that those avenues were a much better predictor for performance in their freshman year than their SAT scores were,” said MSU’s Karen Pennington, vice president of student development and campus life.

Pennington said a student’s performance on one test on one day doesn’t reflect their ability to succeed in the long run.

“It says that you might take tests very well, or it means that you took excellent preparation courses to take that test,” she said.

The school has been focusing increasingly less on SAT scores over the past few years. According to Pennington, standardized testing scores accounted for less than a third of the decision regarding this year’s freshman class.

Applications with the SAT option are expected to start rolling in this month from students getting an early jump on the admissions process.

Hundreds of schools across the country are using the same route. The New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities said other Garden State institutions may be looking at MSU to see how their decision unfolds.

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