Trinity Joins Test-Optional Movement and Encourages Students and Counselors to Share a Deeper Narrative

October 5, 2015


Dear School Counselor Colleagues,

I hope this email finds you well and enjoying the fall semester.  I am excited to share a few updates and changes we are making to the admissions process here at Trinity College. After much research and consideration, Trinity College has decided that effective immediately, we will no longer require the SAT or ACT for students applying for undergraduate admission.  Research has proven that high school GPA is a stronger predictor of success in College than are standardized test scores.  Our goal in joining the test-optional movement is to expand educational access and to bring academically strong students to the admissions committee who may have never considered a Trinity College education.  We know there are many ways to predict a student’s success in college, and I would like to expand the definition by both having Trinity join the test-optional movement and by beginning to incorporate other student characteristics into our evaluation process. 

In order to create greater access to higher education and include as many students in the conversation about what it means to be “college ready,” I don’t think going test-optional is enough.  For decades, college admissions officials have been using the same factors to predict success in college.  In fact, recent media articles point to the fact that colleges and universities have an antiquated evaluation system with very little innovation.  I’m sure you’ve counseled many students whose character you knew would carry them through to success, but you just couldn’t quantify their outstanding attributes in a traditional college application form.  Many of you have shared your frustration that colleges have a very narrow way of evaluating students. 

I have listened and I have done the research, and now we at Trinity are making changes in our admissions policies and procedures.

Beginning this year, Trinity College will incorporate the evaluation of personality traits and characteristics that research has proven predict student success.  Grades and academic coursework help admission counselors understand academic achievement, but we know this is only one part of a student’s complex story.  Attributes such as curiosity, optimism, persistence, grit, and creativity (to name a few) are strong predictors of success in college and beyond.

We value these qualities at Trinity and will be inviting counselors (through a brief survey method) to highlight the characteristics they see in their students that could help us make a more informed admissions decision.  While these attributes will not replace grades or other factors in the application, they will enhance the applicant’s file and give the committee other tangibles to consider, and thus lead to a more robust and holistic evaluation of the student.   

I spend a lot of time thinking about how to create greater access to higher education, and in particular, to extraordinary schools like Trinity.  It’s time for those of us who lead enrollment offices to expand the conversation about what it means to evaluate a “successful” student.  College campuses are complex, multi-faceted communities, and I want to make sure we are inviting academically accomplished students to join our campus who bring just that – complex and multi-faceted talents and committed, creative ways of approaching their work.  I want to thank you for your partnership in this endeavor and look forward to working with your students who aspire to attend Trinity College.  You’ll be hearing from me with more information closer to our application deadlines, but in the meantime, know that I can’t wait to read your students’ applications and hear their stories. 

I look forward to expanding our collaboration!

Best,

Angel Pérez
Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success
Trinity College
Hartford, CT 06106