Wake Forest University has announced that they are going test optional beginning with the freshman class of 2009. While I have reported on a number of liberal arts colleges that have recently gone test optional, this news is important because Wake Forest is the highest ranked national university to adopt a test optional admissions standard. US News currently ranks Wake Forest as number 30 on the list of national universities. Although you know that I don’t put faith in arbitrary rankings, few would dispute that Wake Forest is a top university.
One of the arguments in the past has been that liberal arts colleges can go test optional because they don’t have as many applicants, but that the national universities don’t have the resources to evaluate all of their applicants. Wake Forest has announced that they will be adding 20% to their admissions staff to better evaluate their applicants and to encourage underrepresented students to apply to Wake.
Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed has an excellent article about some of the discussions that Wake Forest had on whether to go test optional. Scott also reviews this years admissions results at Worcester Polytechnic University which last year became the first selective science school to go test optional.