Knox College had its second lowest admission rate on record when considering applicants for the Class of 2019, according to Dean of Admission Paul Steenis.
This year 63.5 percent of applicants were offered admission to Knox. This is down from last year, when the admission rate was 68 percent.
Four hundred and seventeen freshmen and transfer students make up the college’s fall 2015 entering class. Of 3,546 applicants, 2,253 individuals were offered admission to Knox.
The lowest recorded admission rate occurred in 2007, when 61.3 percent of students applying were admitted to the college.
“The admission rate varies from year to year based on the size of the applicant pool, the quality of the applicant pool and what our goals are at the time,” Steenis said.
Despite its increase in selectivity this year, Steenis said that the average ACT score for admitted students has remained about the same.
Knox does not require students to submit test scores when applying.
Cornell College, which is also a member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, joined Knox as a test-optional school earlier this month.
“Test scores are probably one of the last things we look at here at Knox. We look at course selection and grades before anything else,” Steenis said. “Test scores do provide useful information to a college admissions officer. They give some sense of the students’ strengths and weaknesses, but they rarely tell the whole story. That’s why we’re test-optional in the admissions process, because we don’t rely very heavily on them.”
While standardized test scores may not be the most important factor of an application to the Office of Admission, some students see the scores as valuable tools.
“There needs to be a test to determine how well students will do in their first year of college. However, there is too much pressure put on students to do well on it. This pressure can sometimes cause scores to be lower than they otherwise would have been,” freshman Megan Noone said.
Senior Charlie Harned runs The Anything is Possible Education Foundation. The non-profit organization provides free tutoring to high school students in the Knox County area with aims to help the students raise their ACT scores.
Harned said that he sees standardized testing as an important tool for many colleges.
“They allow admissions officers to compare apples to oranges,” he said. “Look at a school like Harvard — they get about 35,000 applicants each year. The Harvard admissions office simply can’t give 35,000 applications the attention that they need, so they’ll use things like standardized test scores and GPA as heuristics in the admissions process.”