Think You Know Everything about Colleges and Admissions? Wait 'Til You Read This!

There are some very interesting new and not-so-new facts about colleges and admissions about which even the most informed parents, students, teachers and counselors may not know.
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Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland
Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland

There are many ways that students and parents can get information about colleges and admissions including dozens of books on the topics, almost daily newspaper or magazine articles, a plethora of blogs and websites, and of course, the College Section of The Huffington Post. Still, there are some very interesting new and not-so-new facts about colleges and admissions about which even the most informed parents, students, teachers and counselors may not know. Here are a few little-known gems:

10 Colleges That Don't Use Letter Grades

Some students do better in school when they are left to their own devices and not pressured to perform. The following schools offer that option and academic and social environments that are an alternative to usual traditional ways of learning. By the way, Donald Asher mentions most of them in his Cool Colleges for the Hyper-intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, and Just Plain Different book.

17 Colleges that Accept the ACT with writing in Lieu of the SAT and Subject Tests

Some students find the ACT a much more compatible test than the SAT. To those of you for whom this applies, how cool is it if the colleges you are most interested in just want one test, not two, three or more! The following schools accept the ACT in lieu of both the SAT I and Subject Tests:

  • Amherst College
  • Barnard College
  • Boston College
  • Brown University
  • Bryn Mawr College (or will take the SAT with two Subject Tests or three Subjects Tests and/or AP tests)
  • Columbia University
  • Duke University
  • Haverford College
  • Pomona College
  • Rice University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Tufts University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Vassar College
  • Wellesley College
  • Wesleyan College
  • Yale University
(Many thanks to Cignus Vanni, New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling for compiling this list as of July 2012)

More than 850 U.S. Colleges and Universities that Are Test Score Optional and "Test Flexible"

I know plenty of students who are very bright, do well in school, but who don't perform accordingly on standardized tests. Is that you? If it is, then as you can see there are absolutely first-rate schools that don't require your taking ANY tests, and some that only use them for research and/or placement but not assessment. Here are examples:

  • American University
  • Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Bard College
  • Bates College
  • Bennington College
  • Bowdoin College
  • California State Universities such as Fresno, Long Beach and San Marcos
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • Connecticut College
  • Denison University
  • Dickinson University
  • Franklin and Marshall College
  • Gettysburg College
  • Goucher College
  • Hampshire College
  • Juniata College
  • Knox College
  • Lawrence University
  • Lewis & Clark College
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Pitzer College
  • Providence College
  • Rollins College
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • Sewanee: The University of the South
  • Smith College
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • University of Montana, Missoula
  • Wake Forest University
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute

(For many more schools, see

Mt. Sinai Humanities and Medicine Early Acceptance Program

The Mt. Sinai Humanities and Medicine Early Acceptance Program accepts students who are not science/math majors as sophomores in college.

The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City offers a path to medical school geared toward students with potential who want to explore their interests in humanities and social sciences in college. Students apply to the program during the first semester of their sophomore year in college and if accepted, the summer before their junior year they attend a required 8-week summer program of classroom study in basic medical sciences and various clinical disciplines. MCATs are neither required nor permitted to be taken! Mt. Sinai says that "ideal candidates" for this highly selective program demonstrate an interest and ability in the sciences and math in high school, taken a minimum of science/math courses in college, and are people who show promise for becoming "compassionate and humanistic physicians."

Harvard Business School 2+2 Program

The Harvard Business School's special 2+2 Program is for college students seeking an MBA who want to gain real-world experience as part of their education.

The new Harvard 2+2 program is for current or rising college seniors who apply for the MBA program. If accepted, students spend two years working in an HBS approved job in the public, non-profit or private sector, followed by two years in the regular MBA program. Heretofore business schools have urged students to get three, four or five years of business experience after college before applying to "biz school." This is a brilliant short cut.

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