Real chances at an ivy (or similar) without test scores

I don’t want to turn this post into a W&L discussion, but I must agree with @cinnamon1212. The school is taking meaningful steps to address its troubling history and actively working toward a more diverse and inclusive environment. Understandably, there was a lot of disappointment about the decision to keep the name. I do think it is important to note that the faculty and student body voted overwhelmingly to change the name… the people one would interact with daily on campus are pushing for change. Change does not happen overnight so it will take time for that to filter up to some alumni and the Board of Trustees.

If any school is of interest, take time to research and talk to current students/faculty to help determine if it is a fit.

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I agree, which is why I posted the above link.

And I too commend those there trying to bring about change, but I also think it worthwhile for potential applicants to consider the school’s abysmal diversity numbers (both students and faculty) as well as the board of trustee’s overwhelming rejection of the wishes of the students and faculty on such a fundamental issue. Those two things are certainly related; many excellent students and faculty (especially minority students and faculty) want no part of a university that would continue to honor a man like Lee. Of course others may see it differently, and it may be a perfect school for them, but there is no harm in being informed.


Sure, some will stop at the name. But for those who are wanting to go a little deeper, here’s the most recent class profile, showing, among other things, that the class is made up of 23% domestic students of color, up from 11% 5 years ago. Evidence the school is working hard to increase diversity. (Acknowledging it was starting from a bad place!)

These numbers are not wildly out of whack with other liberal arts colleges-- Bates, e.g., has 27% domestic students of color (Numbers, facts, and insights about the Class of 2025 | News | Bates College).

Oberlin - 26%

Kenyon - 20%

Grinnell - 27%

I fully expect the numbers to continue increasing with the myriad efforts the school is making.

Here are the substantive things the school is doing:

The school is a work in progress, for sure. But it is not the same school it was 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. And it’s not the right school for every student. But the reality is more nuanced than some realize.


I sympathize with what you are saying and with your good intentions, and don’t doubt that most people associated with the school mean well and would like to see the school rectify its past. But there is much more to diversity and inclusion than increasing the percentage of black students on campus from 2% to 4%. ”Nuanced" plans and desires won’t mean much if students, faculty, and donors do not get past the name on the gate, and there are plenty of excellent educational institutions who haven’t chosen to continue to honor traitorous, vicious slave owners like Robert E. Lee. It is a monumental ask to expect potential students (and current donors) to support an institution that has so chosen.

That said, we obviously disagree on the significance of the board’s recent decision, and the role it should play to those considering attending and/or supporting the school. And while I do respect your viewpoint and believe it is worth considering and discussing, I think it best if I bow out from continuing the conversation in this thread.


I am so sorry this happened to your daughter. I agree with the others that Georgetown would be understanding if you need to submit that score if you add an explanation about the lack of accommodations. But I would also tell College Board they are violating the ADA by releasing a score and demand they delete it.

This is what the Dept of Justice says is required:

"What Testing Accommodations Must Be Provided?

Testing entities must ensure that the test scores of individuals with disabilities accurately reflect the individual’s aptitude or achievement level or whatever skill the exam or test is intended to measure. A testing entity must administer its exam so that it accurately reflects an individual’s aptitude, achievement level, or the skill that the exam purports to measure, rather than the individual’s impairment (except where the impaired skill is one the exam purports to measure).3"
(ADA Requirements: Testing Accommodations)

IMHO, your daughter’s test did not meet this standard. It doesn’t matter if “she made the decision” to take the test anyway (as a minor without awareness of what her rights were I don’t think she truly consented). The request for accommodation was made, accommodations were agreed upon, but not provided.

I hate that you have to fight them, and it’s understandable if you decide not to, but if it were me I would call them out on it and if needed seek assistance from a local disability rights group and/or Dept of Justice (Disability Rights Section | CRT | Department of Justice).

Your daughter sounds amazing and I’m sure will do well wherever she goes. :slight_smile:


she sounds like an incredible applicant. I don’t think she needs an SAT score to get into some great schools. I don’t know if I would contact schools to explain the situation with her testing- might come off the wrong way and do more harm than good. I would apply to test optional schools, which are plentiful. And I think your safeties are underselling your kid.

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Thanks for the kind words. Her counselor thinks that with her resume any school with 30% acceptance rate will be sort of a “safety”. She is looking into William and Mary, Hamilton and also Holy Cross. She says that if she can not make it to Georgetown or Princeton she definitely wants a LAC. Doing our homework!!


Hamilton offers a flexible testing policy. As one potential array, I believe your daughter would be able to submit her EBRW score along with various AP scores and IB results (especially including those from quantitative subjects). Irrespective of testing, she would seem to be a natural candidate for Hamilton’s long established term in D.C. or, based on her activism, its public policy program. Note that the overall acceptance rate for Hamilton’s most recent class was 14.1%.


If your daughter is set on staying East, ignore this comment, but if not it may be worth considering the Claremont Colleges, particularly Pomona or Pitzer. Pitzer is completely test blind, and Pomona is test optional and serious about it (a significant portion of their last class did not submit test scores.). Pomona has a solid history department, as does Pitzer, plus there is cross enrollment across all the campuses. Southern California is a diverse place and both (but Pomona in particular) are diverse both geographically and with regard to race/ethnicity. If your daughter is interested in continuing to pursue Latinx politics and activism, it would be an excellent place to do it.


Scripps as well, which has much better merit aid than Pitzer (and than Pomona which has none).

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Thanks, I should have included Scripps.

Thanks for digging deeper into the “domestic students of color” numbers. Within that data, URM students, particularly Black and Hispanic students, are a shockingly small percentage, even when compared to other LACs. I won’t go on; there are other threads on W&L.


Sigh. I want to be clear that I don’t think W&L is perfect, and that I do think it has to make a big effort to overcome/make up for it’s past. And I don’t defend the name, or fault those who count the school out on that basis alone.

I do think it is good to be fair though. A quick search told me W&L had 4% Black students. But that search also showed me Grinnell has 4.5%, and Bates and Oberlin have approximately 5% Black students. I picked those schools because they are LACS with a reputation for being very liberal. I expect W&L’s percentage to move up, given their strong emphasis on increasing diversity. Time will tell.

In any case, if W&L is not for you, great! But if anyone is considering it having factual information is important.

ETA - for those particularly interested The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education has an interesting (and current!) article:Black First-Year Students at the Nation’s Leading Liberal Arts Colleges : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education


I know students who got into Stanford and Yale last year without scores. And I know many students with top standardized test scores who did not get into T20 schools.

Given all that your daughter brings to the table, I would not stress over this.


Also consider Williams, the acceptance rate was the same for those who submitted scores vs those who did not, here is the article:

College goes test-optional for 2022, 2023 applicants – The Williams Record

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With respect to details, however, the article goes only as far as stating the ratio with respect to early decision acceptances:

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Yes, figured it would be similar for the general pool since the article was written before the spring acceptances. In any case, at very selective school like Williams, it seems that not submitting scores was not a big factor so would assume that it would similar at Princeton or Stanford. Do we know if Princeton has decided to be test optional for the 2023 admissions cycle as well? William is test optional for this and next year.

It looks like 57% of Pomona admits submitted test scores, so not sure that’s a great TO college. I agree the Claremont consortium could be really good fits for the OP’s daughter, if they’re ok with the distance.

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I’m not sure either, I guess, but 43% admitted TO in the first year of TO sounds pretty good to me. I expect we’d need more data to draw much of conclusion, and I don’t think Pomona has released their application data yet. Below are some stats from other schools provided by @Data10:


there’s this app called OptN that allows you to make a profile of your academic stats and extracurriculars that colleges can see and can indicate to you if they’re interested or not before the application process even begins. i think it’s pretty new and it’s on the iOS app store. i downloaded it a couple weeks ago.

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