Thursday, October 16, 2008

Already got into college? Wanna retake the SAT?

That's right. Believe it or not, this policy is encouraged 100 miles north of UT at Waco's Baylor University.

In an attempt to make Baylor more competitive in college rankings in US News & World Report, the university offered already admitted and enrolled students $300 in bookstore credit for re-taking the exam. This applied to the class of 2012 only.

Students who improved their scores by 50 points or more were given $1,000 in merit scholarships. Of the 861 who retook the exam, 150 were able to secure the $1,000 in financial aid.

SAT scores are just one of the many criteria that US News uses to rank colleges.

Baylor's average incoming freshman SAT score also raised from 1200 to 1210. A staggering 10 points. Isn't that what each question is worth?

Or perhaps more importantly, how much will this take-the-SAT-after-I've-been-admitted plan really change Baylor's rankings? US News ranks them at #76 currently.

According to the US News website, "student selectivity" of an institution accounts for only 15% of its ranking. And of this selectivity score, SAT scores account for 50% of the 15%... so 7.5% overall. I can only venture to guess what a whopping impact those 10 points will make in the grand scheme of things.

By my calculations Baylor gave up at least $408,300 in scholarships and bookstore credit (assuming the bookstore is affiliated with the school) with its new policy. All for 10 points higher on the average SAT score? Was it worth it? Only time will tell.

And also, do other universities view Baylor's decision? That Baylor is rankings obsessed? Pathetic? Honorable? Charitable?

And who is to say that all students nationwide wouldn't be able to improve their SAT scores an average of 10 points when given that extra post-applications time?

Just some thoughts...

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