Chatham University

SAT/Test Optional Policy

Chatham University has adopted a standardized test optional admissions policy for first-year undergraduate applicants. This policy took effect for all first-year applicants applying for entry to Chatham in fall 2006 and beyond.

The Chatham University curriculum is focused on helping students write effectively, think critically, and consider issues globally. Based upon research and experience, Chatham believes that the SAT does not fully evaluate a student’s ability to excel in those areas. The SAT does not anticipate a student’s ability to fully excel within a Chatham education, which combines individualized instruction in a liberal-arts-based curriculum leading to a professional degree and graduate-level studies.

Chatham’s Office of Admissions will continue to accept standardized test scores from students who wish to submit them. Applicants who choose not to submit the SAT/ACT will be required instead to submit a graded writing sample and resume or list of curricular and co-curricular activities. Applicants will also have the option to submit a portfolio or special project/activity. These materials may also be applied toward Chatham’s scholarship review process upon acceptance.

Why consider changing the SAT/ACT first-year application requirement to optional?
The SAT/ACT is not effective evaluating a student’s ability to succeed at Chatham University. Our curriculum is focused on helping students write effectively, think critically and consider issues globally. The SAT does not evaluate a student’s ability to excel in those areas. By implementing an SAT optional policy, we can deepen our applicant pool, attract more creatively oriented women, and evaluate applicants on a more individual basis, which is consistent with how students are treated at Chatham University.

Additionally, studies clearly indicate that standardized test scores consistently favor males over females. Although females earn higher grades in high school and college, their SAT scores average 39 points lower than males.

What documents will be used to evaluate applicants?
First-year students who choose not to submit the SAT/ACT would be required to submit a graded writing sample and resume or list of activities. Applicants would also have the option to interview and submit a portfolio or special project/activity.

Will the SAT/ACT optional policy effect diversity?
Many “SAT/ACT optional” schools have reported an increase in quantity and diversity for applicants and enrolled students.

What other colleges and universities use an optional SAT/ACT policy?
At this time 700 four-year accredited colleges and universities do not require the SAT/ACT for a majority of applicants.