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FAQ about Hampshire's Test Blind Admission Policy

If you are not looking at standardized test scores, what ARE you looking at?

  • The transcript plays a central role in our application review. We seek evidence of a rigorous college prep program, consistent high academic achievement, disciplined work habits and a willingness to be challenged. Also, we look carefully at essays, letters of recommendation, and interviews, which are strongly encouraged. Finally, we are very interested in activities outside of the classroom including those involving collaboration, community engagement, leadership, and/or work experience. As you can see, we have plenty to consider beyond standardized test scores.

What is the difference between Hampshire’s test blind policy and the more common test-optional policy?

  • Unlike ‘test-optional’ institutions, we will not consider SAT/ACT scores regardless of the score. Even if it’s a perfect score, it will not weigh into our assessment of an applicant.  

    Many colleges have adopted test-optional policies to compensate for the gender, class, racial and ethnic biases that have been found with standardized testing. In this case students can decide whether or not to have them considered as part of their application. We are test-blind because we found through our own internal research that in addition to being biased, these standardized tests are poor predictors of success at Hampshire.

Will Hampshire still consider AP, IB, and subject test scores?

  • If submitted, yes. AP, IB, and Subject test scores are intended to measure achievement rather than aptitude. They are content-specific and thus they often factor into decisions to grant a student advanced standing upon matriculation. They can also be an indicator of rigor and a student’s willingness to be challenged outside the norm.

I am a home school student and I have been told by some that standardized tests are one of the few ways I can effectively demonstrate my skills. How will you consider my application in the absence of test scores and a traditional transcript?

  • We would strongly encourage that you build a portfolio with examples of your actual work. Furthermore we would put extra weight in your essays, recommendations, and activities. Finally, we would strongly encourage an interview as another means of giving the admission committee as complete a picture as possible in order to make an informed decision.
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Hampshire College
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Amherst, MA 01002