Wesleyan Test Optional Policy and Statistics on Website?

I was wondering if anyone had any details on Wesleyan’s test optional policy. How many people are admitted without submitting any test scores? What are the admitted students’ backgrounds? Realistically, can a white (non-athlete) child of professional parents (non-Wesleyan alums) who goes to private school or a school in an affluent suburb get into Wesleyan without submitting test scores?

Wesleyan’s website states: “Last year about 60% of all applicants submitted SATs, 20% submitted ACTs and 20% submitted both.” This statement is confusing, at best. (Did the person who wrote it actually get into Wesleyan?)

If the “20%” who “submitted both” are not included in the “60%” who “submitted SATs,” then the numbers are 60% SATs, 20% ACTs, and 20% both SATs and ACTs, which would mean that 100% submitted SATs, ACTs or both SATs and ACTs, with 0% of all applicants submitting neither SATs or ACTs. That seems unlikely. Wesleyan has been “test optional” for several years.

On the other hand, if the “20%” who “submitted both” are included in the “60%” who “submitted SATs,” then the “20%” who “submitted both” also should be included in the “20%” who “submitted ACTs,” which would mean that every single person who submitted the ACTs also submitted the SATs. That also seems unlikely. Many people take the ACTs and don’t take the SATs.

Maybe I am missing something. Maybe my calculations are wrong. My own standardized test scores were less than perfect…

I also found this: “79% of admits asked to have test scores considered in the admission process.”

Maybe this means that 21% of admitted students did not submit scores?

Does anybody know anything about that group?

This question can best be answered by your GC…what do they think?

I agree, and it would be challenging to improve on your reasoning as to why the wording leaves multiple interpretations open, of which none are satisfactory. As far as I can tell from your follow-up post, however, it seems that the approximate percentages of 60%, 20% and 20% must somehow comport with a figure of 79%. The components obviously cannot add individually (even approximately) to 79%, nor can they overlap to reach this figure without an improbable assumption (all those who submitted ACT scores also submitted SAT scores).

The confusion lies in the fact that 100% of all matriculated students are required to submit their board scores (assuming they took any) - whether or not they were considered during the initial admissions process.

This is consistent with the university’s most recent Common Data Sets as the numbers of enrollee’s who submitted one, the other or both the SAT and ACT match pretty closely the total number of people in the freshman class.

The FAQ from which the OP’s quote was lifted, concerned the question whether Wesleyan preferred one test over the other and should have simply answered, “No.” and left it at that.

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These figures would be consistent after a few assumptions, @InterLoki:

60% (80% - 20% overlap) + 20% (40% - 20% overlap) + 20% overlap = 100% (upon matriculation)

I’m most interested in hearing details about the 21% of admitted students (assuming that’s the right number) who did not submit scores before they were admitted. Does anybody know any?

I don’t think the FAQ sentence was very clear, since it referred to “applicants” rather than “admitted applicants who matriculated” or something like that, but that’s not really the point of my original post. The curcuitrider and merc81 posts seem like they are probably right.

OTOH, your questions demonstrate just how much at home you would be at Wesleyan. I hope you apply and that you get in. :stuck_out_tongue:

Hey @InterLoki, I was admitted to Wesleyan as a test-optional ED I applicant, feel free to reach out to me at feldman.daniel@bcchsnyc.net if you have any questions about anything under the sun. Good luck in admissions and hope to see you in Middletown next year!

With respect to statistics, Wesleyan needs to review its recently released CDS. In one subsection, for example, it states that fewer students (26%) originated from the top quarter of their HS classes than from the top tenth (67%).

Hey merc81 and CircuitRider: Have you two ever duked it out about Wesleyan versus Amherst? I just realized from reading some other posts that you two are both very knowledgeable about those particular colleges, both of which seem like great places. It looks like merc81 has a kid at Amherst (and also is an alum, maybe?). And Circuit Rider appears to be the most loyal Wesleyan alum in the entire country. Can you point me to any good posts comparing the two cultures, academics, etc.?

I noticed some strange statistical anomalies about those two colleges. I had heard that Amherst was, on average, slightly harder to get into than Wesleyan, but maybe that’s not right. Wesleyan seems to have slightly higher standardized test stats than Amherst, even though Wesleyan is test optional. Is that because Wesleyan doesn’t count the scores for about a fifth of the admitted students in when it reports its test stats?

25 percent of admitted Amherst freshman who submitted ACT scores supposedly had ACT scores of 30 or below, with 75 percent supposedly having 30 or above. By contrast, 25 percent of admitted Wesleyan freshman who submitted ACT scores supposedly had ACT scores of 33 or below, with 75% supposedly having 33 or above.

Here are the numbers from the Amherst website:

SAT middle 50%: Evidence-Based Reading & Writing: 700-770; Math 720-790
ACT middle 50%: Composite: 30-34; English: 32-35; Math: 28-34

Here are the numbers from the Wesleyan website (which are not presented the same way:

SAT middle 50%: Evidence-Based Reading & Writing: 710-770; Math 740-790
ACT middle 50%: Composite: 33-35 (No details provided on English and Math ACT)

Also, do you know why Amherst freshman do better on English than Math when taking the ACT but better on Math than English when taking the SAT? (I can’t tell whether this is true for Wesleyan freshman.)

You two are both amazing, so I hope you’ll respond.


The Princeton Review probably fairly captures comparative selectivity, and assigned Wesleyan a rating of 96 (on a 60–99 scale) and Amherst a rating of 98.


MODERATOR’S NOTE: I am going to leave JaneW11’s post up. This is CrewDad, who keeps registering over and over and has to be repeatedly banned. Very childish and annoying.

@InterLoki - As you can see, Amherst and Wesleyan have much more in common than than they have in differences: similar main campuses (Wesleyan is a bit more spread out as one might expect with its larger student body); similar town/gown relationship.

All Wesleyan matriculants are required to submit scores regardless of whether they did so during the original application process. So, I am assuming those are the scores that appear on the CDS. Years ago, when Wesleyan had the larger URM population (at one point, the largest among all traditionally white LACs) it had relatively lower standardized scores than Amherst. Now that Amherst has exceeded Wesleyan in terms of need-blind financial aid, there may be some relationship to the variety of academic credentials at both schools.

However, I think it would be nitpicking to base a decision on stats alone.

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^Re URM enrollments, specifically Black enrollments, at Amherst and Wesleyan over the past 25 years, there is this: https://www.jbhe.com/2020/02/black-first-year-students-at-nations-leading-liberal-arts-colleges-2019/

[Kudos to @Meddy for providing this cite on the Amherst forum.]

It looks like more colleges are going to go test optional next year. Amherst, Pomona and the UC campuses will be test optional next year but maybe not afterwards.

Meanwhile, the College Board is trying to schedule new test dates.

I still have not seen much on how it works at highly selective colleges.

The next shoe to drop will be in the realm of need-blind admissions.

@InterLoki The Wesleyan score ranges you are quoting are the score ranges for those who were admitted, not those who have enrolled. The Amherst ranges on the other hand are for those who enrolled. The Wesleyan enrolled student score ranges last year were:

SAT middle 50%: Evidence-Based Reading & Writing: 650-740; Math 670-770
ACT middle 50%: Composite: 31-34

(I got this from the CDS 19-20 data, these ranges could be higher for this year)

@BrehMement42 so the 25th percentile for enrolled is only 1320 but accepted 25th percentile is 1450?