NYT’s columnist Ron Lieber lauds The College of Wooster for its test optional policy and its purely test blind approach to merit aid

September 25, 2020   /  

New York Times’ columnist Ron Lieber praised The College of Wooster for its early aid estimator and test-blind approach to merit aid in an article for Your Money about the concerns students face as they apply for colleges this year. “Families could use more blunt talk, not to mention the kind of human intervention and transparency that Whitman and Wooster offer,” Lieber says. “There is no disadvantage for a student if they do not submit a test, vis a vis merit aid,” Wooster’s Vice President for Enrollment Scott Friedhoff told Lieber. “They should believe me,” he said. “We are test blind when it comes to merit.”

As students struggle with finding testing centers or risking their health to sit the tests, Lieber recommends colleges adopt this “test-blind policy” to “assuage those concerns.” Wooster in April announced it would no longer require test scores beginning for the fall 2021 entering class. Applicants have the option to submit ACT or SAT test scores as part of Wooster’s admission process, but they will not be required to do so, and test scores are not considered for merit-based scholarships. Instead, Wooster’s admission process considers many different expressions of a student’s achievements and abilities. Students present application materials that reflect their diverse academic talents and potential, including scholastic achievements, an application essay, school profile, letters of recommendation, leadership and service, extracurricular activities, and any other information that shows promise to contribute to the intellectual and social life of a distinct academic community.

Lieber also notes that Wooster’s early aid estimator is a service he would like to see more schools offer. The tool allows students to understand the scholarship and financial aid opportunities available to them before submitting an application by providing information about senior-year classes, GPA, honors and awards as well as extra-curricular activities and leadership positions. Students interested in Wooster are able to estimate both merit- and need-based aid by providing additional income information.