the 10th grade, 11th grade? Certainly I would like to see an upward trend but we also know courses get harder. I would love for you to challenge yourself, so push yourself in that honors or AP class. We do also require that students take the standardized tests, the SAT or the ACT. We acknowledge that it is a one day test; we don’t see it as a perfect test but it gives us some insight into a student’s ability to infer and take tests and so we’ll look at those test scores in relation to what grades they got, what courses they take and what high school they go to because we do see different trends across the country and we will make adjustments knowing that a student is coming from an area that is not preparing them well for this sort of standardized test. We also in our application require recommendation letters from two teachers and one guidance counselor and I find that’s where students come alive. That teachers can write what a student was like in class, what they might add to our college. That’s where we do get the sense of what’s a person like. I always advise students how important it is to get to know their teachers and their guidance counselors.
What do you think of recent decisions by Smith & Wake Forest to eliminate the SAT and how likely is that at your institution?
I don’t want Barnard to sit on a pedestal and say every year we just blindly use this test. We’ve done some research but we’re going into a bigger research project this year on SATs in the admissions process. When students come to Barnard, let’s link that back to the SAT scores they got. Were they predictors? We’re going to break that out by categories: by ethnicity, by geographical area, is there any sort of links to students doing better or worse? We don’t have immediate plans to do away with the SATs. They are one more piece in an application which is very much a puzzle. We’ve never considered it the number one piece and so we don’t feel that strong need to eliminate that because it has served us well in our process.
How does your institution attract minority students and what is it doing to improve diversity efforts?
We want Barnard to reflect the city that we’re in. You can define diversity in many ways. If we’re talking ethnic minority we’re utilizing a lot of our students so they can speak to prospective students. We have an individual in our office and it is her role in the office to coordinate multicultural recruitment efforts. She is making sure that when our staff go off across the country that they are visiting a variety of high schools, they are going into community based organizations whether it’s an after school program, a church or synagogue or YMCA, really trying to get at students wherever they