Faculty unanimously endorse test-optional admissions

Ripon College faculty unanimously endorsed a recommendation by the Academic Standards Committee to adopt a test-optional admission process beginning in fall 2016. Prospective students who apply in fall 2016 will have the option to submit ACT or SAT test scores as part of Ripon’s admission process, but they will not be required to do so.

Ripon joins a growing movement of colleges and universities nationwide who are pivoting to a more holistic application process.

“We believe in the potential of every student who matriculates at Ripon College to succeed
based on their individual mix of accomplishments, hard work and past experiences,” said Jenn Machacek, vice president for enrollment at Ripon College. “Scores received on the ACT or SAT tests do not necessarily correlate with academic success in college.”

Students are encouraged to present application materials that most accurately reflect their
diverse academic talents and potential, including: high school transcripts, recommendation
letters, writing sample, leadership positions, work history, involvement in school and community activities, and commitment to Ripon’s core values.

Students may choose to submit either their ACT or SAT scores if they feel those results best represent their academic potential. The admission committee makes no assumptions between students who choose to submit scores and those who do not. All students will be given equal consideration in the admission process.

“Ripon College is proud of our long tradition of delivering a transformational private educational experience that is accessible for most families,” said Zach Messitte, president of Ripon College. “As we work to provide greater opportunities for more students, we must make every effort to reduce the barriers to achieving the college dream. Joining our peer and aspirant schools who have reshaped college admission by adopting test-optional admission processes will help to reduce excessive achievement pressure and promote a level the playing field for all applicants.”

Each year, more than 40 percent of our incoming students are the first in their families to attend college. Sixty-five percent of all Ripon students come from Wisconsin and a large percentage make their careers in the state after they graduate. Ninety-eight percent of all Ripon students receive some form of financial assistance to attend. Within six months of graduation, 96 percent are employed, student teaching or pursuing graduate degrees.

Ripon College was lauded by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for outperforming all other colleges and universities in the state for our ability to graduate low-income students. In fact, Ripon’s 6-year average graduation rate for Pell Grant recipients (76.8 percent) actually outpaces that of non-Pell eligible students (72.8 percent).

“We want this test-optional policy to deliver a clear signal to prospective students that there could be a place for them at Ripon if they are hard-working, highly-engaged and have challenged themselves in their high school studies,” added Messitte.


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