Bryn Mawr College

Juniors: Do you know what "test optional" means?

There have been a lot of headlines lately about standardized testing. There is no question standardized testing is in a period of evolution. As a result, you will be hearing more and more about schools that are "test optional."

In recent years, many colleges have looked more closely at the use of standardized test scores and some have adopted a “test- optional” policy. That means they are flexible about submission of standardized test scores. But it's not as obvious as it sounds. At some schools test optional means students are no longer required to submit SAT or ACT scores. At others, however, it means students may be asked to submit the results of AP, IB, or SAT Subject Tests in lieu of SAT or ACT results. Eligibility to not submit test scores may also be contingent on other factors— for example, applicants might need to rank in the top 10 percent of their class or have a GPA of 3.5 or above. Furthermore, applicants can sometimes be required to meet alternative admission requirements such as submission of graded writing samples, additional teacher recommendations, or in- person interviews. You will need to check the testing policy of each school to which you are applying.

Should you consider a women's college?

Studies have found that in classrooms of women students participate more actively and report higher levels of learning, higher order thinking, and more academic challenge throughout their four years than do women in coed settings. Political consultant and Bryn Mawr graduate Carrie Wofford has a great opinion piece in US News on women's colleges and the women who graduate from their programs. But there's even more information here that could be important to consider in your college search. For example, students at women's colleges report more interaction with faculty. And if tradition and community bonds are important to you, a women's college may be the place you're looking for. Read the whole piece here.

Hat tip: Ellen Michelson, parent of a Bryn Mawr, Class of 2009, graduate.

Photo of Hillary Clinton at Wellesley from LIFE magazine archives

Misty Whelan, Conestoga High School

Misty Whelan has lived the college admission process from both sides of the desk, so to speak. True, she worked early in her career at Bryn Mawr College. But that's not what we're talking about. Now a counselor at Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Pennsyvania, Whelan has also navigated the college application process as a parent. Her 16-year-old daughter, Sarah, is taking her first steps in the process and her 19-year-old son is now attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The view from the parental side of the process has been invaluable for Whelan.

"It has really, really helped me immensely as a professional in terms of sympathizing and empathizing with families as they go through this process," says Whelan. "And the other thing it validated for me was letting my son do the work and not to do it for him. He did the bulk of the work. I learned a lot about how to center him and not have him panic or get too stressed out. Luckily, he knew what he wanted and did not have too many schools on his list.  I also learned a lot about financial aid and the scholarship process. That was the biggest eye opener for me -- how colleges fund students."

The College Road Trip Gourmet Guide

 

If you're headed out this fall to visit college campuses, make sure you check out our Gourmet Guide. We've got recommendations for where to dine -- fine restaurants to food trucks.  We've asked admission staff, alumni and current students for their best bets for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  From pancakes in Nashville and pies in Pasadena  to Belgian bistros in Bryn Mawr and ice cream in Ithaca -- we've got you covered.  Organized state-by-state and by campus, the guide will help you find the perfect cup of coffee, vegan sandwich or best bagel so you can relax and recharge before the next stop at the next campus.

Also, don't forget to check back in with the Guide -- soon to come are recommendations for Duke University in North Carolina, Creighton University in Nebraska, University of Virginia, and Purchase College in New York.  

Jenny Rickard, Bryn Mawr College, Answers 5 Questions

Jenny Rickard, Chief Enrollment and Communications Officer at Bryn Mawr College, joins us this month to answer five questions about the private women's liberal arts college founded in 1885 "for the advanced education of females." Located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, just ten miles west of Philadelphia, the 135-acre campus hosts approximately 1300 undergraduate women.  

With an 8-to-1 student faculty ratio, Bryn Mawr offers 36 majors, 38 minors, 8 concentrations, and the opportunity for students to develop independent courses of study. But Bryn Mawr students can choose from among more than 5,000 course offerings because of the cooperative relationship the school has with neighboring Haverford College and its ties to Swarthmore College and University of Pennsylvania.

College Admission on India Ink at The New York Times

Our primer on standardized testing for international students applying from India is up on the New York Times' blog India Ink. Thank you to Jacques Steinberg, education writer and author of The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College, who helms the New York Times' blog The Choice, for inviting us to explain the role testing plays in the admission decisions of American colleges and universities.