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Structures that promote caring, Part II: The Residential College

Residential Colleges

Since the earliest days of Universities, students have lived in a system that has become known as the Residential College. Starting in Cambridge and Oxford, many other universities adopted the Residential Colleges as they sprung up. In modern times, the residential college has become synonamous with places like YaleRice, and University of California at Santa Cruz.  Collegiate way lists another 28 colleges in the USA that offer students the opportunity to live and learn in a residential college. Some Universities, like Duke and Vanderbilt offer a freshman residential experience that would be on par.

The Residential College is not just a dormitory, but something much more important and integral to the learning experience:

In its most generic sense, the term may be used to refer to an institution that houses most of its students on-campus as opposed to an institution with a large commuter or off-campus population. Many small, independent, liberal arts colleges conform to this definition of residential college. In a more restricted sense, the term residential college may be used interchangeably with terms such as living-learning center, theme house, and residential learning community. This usage, however, may obscure important differences between the classical model of residential college, conventional residence halls, and other types of contemporary residence education programs.

And more:

A 1998 meta-analysis by Gregory Blimling of studies published from 1966 through June 1997 shows, however, that residential colleges, as compared to conventional halls, increase students’ academic performance and retention and enhance the social climate of the living unit. Blimling’s study does not distinguish clearly between classic residential colleges and living-learning centers.

According to studies conducted in 1991 by George D. Kuh and associates and in 1993 by Jerry A. Stark, faculty participating in residential colleges or living/learning centers report improvement in their teaching skills and enhanced relationships with faculty from other disciplines. Frances Arndt reported in 1993 that faculty also held positive attitudes about opportunities offered by residential colleges for teaching a variety of special and experimental courses.

Also well worth the reading an artcile for StateUniversity.Com And this: 

Previous literature has consistently demonstrated a positive influence of residential living on the success of a student’s university experience (Stevens, 1996; LaNasa, Olson & Alleman, 2007). The impact of residential living on the university experience is believed to be multidimensional (Zhao & Kuh, 2004), it may also depend on how satisfied the student is with their arrangement. The most successful residential colleges are those living-learning colleges prominent in USA (LaNasa et. al, 2007). These colleges facilitate not only heightened living conditions but the environment assists to recruit and support student success and learning. Therefore such findings emphasise the need for residential communities to not only be a place to live, but to also foster academics and student success. There has been shown that on-campus living has a positive, often indirect effect on student growth and social development, this is associated with the on-campus environment increasing student involvement through maximised opportunities for social, cultural and extracurricular involvement (LaNasa et al, 2007).

Other research shows that

Students in residential learning communities had significantly higher levels of involvement, interaction, integration, and gains in learning and intellectual development than did students in traditional residence halls. 

The Collegiate Way, a web sit dedicated to Residential College, provides four questions that you should ask when exploring how a college’s living situation works:

o   “How many faculty live on campus?” The number of faculty living on campus is a good sign of an institution’s commitment to creating a comprehensive educational environment. And the question is not how many staff members or “student life professionals” live on campus, but how many faculty: professors, lecturers, deans, and so on, who not only participate in residential life but who also teach biology, or philosophy, or mathematics, or art, or some other academic discipline. Are there faculty offices in the dormitories? If so, that is also a good sign.

o   “Does the university have ‘theme halls’?” Theme halls are dormitories or dormitory corridors that group together students who have a common interest or background. Although at first glance this might seem like a good idea, theme halls are really not in students’ best educational interest. If all the art students live together, or all the science students, or all the athletes, how will any of them be able to learn and grow intellectually from exposure to the full range of talents and interests that other students have? If the university you are visiting has theme halls you might ask instead, “Why does the university segregate students in this way instead of integrating them so they can benefit from living in a diverse environment?”

o   “How many juniors and seniors live on campus?” How many graduate students? Are they segregated from the other students, or is everyone mixed together? If the campus dormitories are populated almost entirely by freshmen and sophomores, that is a bad sign. It means either that the conditions are so poor that older students don’t want to stay, or that the university is only concerned with rental occupancy and is not trying to create a rich and diverse educational environment.

o   “Do faculty eat in the campus dining halls?” If you visit a dining hall, look around and see if there are university faculty and staff eating there as well as students. Is the dining hall a noisy student ghetto with a widescreen television blaring away, or is it a relaxing, home-like place where people can talk and get to know each other?

o   “How are the dormitories used during the summer?” Many universities rent their dormitory space during the summer to make money, and in itself this is not objectionable. But who are the tenants? If the space is rented to academic societies, professional organizations, local charities, and the like, that is a good sign. If it is rented to summer sports camps, that may be a bad sign. Years of personal observation have taught me that summer sports camps are often badly supervised and commit extensive vandalism. Their presence may mean that campus buildings are so poorly maintained that more responsible groups don’t want to stay in them. Do you want your son or daughter’s campus home to be routinely vandalized over the summer?

Looking at the CollegiateWay’s listings, you can see that he makes a distinction between the Residential Colleges of Universities and the small liberal arts and science colleges that offer a very similar experience, albeit on a more intimate experience.

Each of these institutions—along with many others around the world—has established, is planning, or is expanding an internal system of residential colleges: permanent, cross-sectional, faculty-led societies that provide the advantages of a small college in the environment of a large university.

For what may be the most comprehensive listing of Residential Colleges in the world, visit Collegiate Way:



Structures that Promote Caring, Part 1: Tutorials

Gallup and Purdue’s research clearly indicte that the professor’s relationship is central to not just the student’s experience at college, but also life later on. With only 27% of college graduates indicating that they had at least one prfoessor that cared about them, clearly this suggests colleges can do more…and students should demand more. 

While this might sound fundamentally an issue of personality, but I suspect there is more to it, more that a college can do to create structures of caring. The first thing that sprang to mind is the Oxbridge Tutorial System. Oxford details their tutorial system here:

A very indepth profile of the Oxford tutorial system here. Cambridge calls their approach supervision

  • This more personal tuition, organised by your College, is one of our greatest strengths and a key advantage of studying at Cambridge – most students find their supervisions the most rewarding and beneficial part of their course.
  • Supervisions are teaching sessions for one or two students or small groups.
  • They’re led by supervisors who are specialists in the subject being studied, and could be one of the country’s or world’s leading authorities.
  • As well as helping you develop independent learning skills, supervisions enable you to explore course material in much greater depth than lectures allow, to gain further insights into your subject, to clarify anything you’re not clear about, to discuss your own work and ideas, and receive regular feedback.
  • You go to different supervisors (often, though not always, from your College) for different parts of your course, in order to learn from specialists in particular areas of your subject.
  • Typically, you have one or two hour-long supervisions each week, although the frequency does vary from course to course.
  • What actually happens during supervisions also varies but generally you’re expected to do some preparatory work for each supervision (eg reading, write an essay, work through some problems), which you then discuss in the sessions.
  • You receive regular reports from your supervisors but aren’t formally assessed on this work, so you can take advantage of this opportunity to take risks with your own ideas, investigate new approaches, and discuss the set topic as well as other aspects of the course.


A few other UK universities (EG King’s Colleg and UCL) also utalize tutorials as an integral part of the the learning experience.

Across the pond, some US colleges also utalize the tutial approach. Sarah Lawrence College has long used the same approach to their education, but called it donning. Willaims embraced the tutorial system after years of exchange students coming back with such favoruable experience at Oxford. 


Some public universities have embraced it for their honors colleges:

Show me the money: New York Times ranks colleges on college access.

What do Vassar and Grinnell share in common with Harvard and Columbia? All are doing a lot to make opportunities available to the best and the brightest, regardless of your ability to pay. The New York Times has released a ranking list ranking of US colleges that have stepped up to be more inclusive to the poor and middle class. 

These colleges have changed policies and made compromises elsewhere to recruit the kind of talented poor students who have traditionally excelled in high school but not gone to top colleges. A surprising number of such students never graduate from any college.

The list may surprise:

  • 14 of the top 20 are liberal arts schools. 
  • 4 are women’s colleges
  • Only 3 ivies make the top 20. 
  • Only 1 public university makes the top 20 (go Tar Heals)

Will this ranking shame the likes of NYU (73), Wash U (92), Tufts (69), Chicago (55), Yale (44) to step up and make more access to the lowest income brackets? Will the Jesuits do some soul searching re their collective missions of social justice when (Boston Coll., Loyola (Md.), Santa Clara, Fairfield all operate in the bottom quartile; Georgetown is the highest ranking at 46th). 

See the whole list here

What is missing is the obvious question as to why it matters. Obviously if you are poor, going to college is certainly an amazing opportunity, especially if the colleges will make it financial viable. But what if you are well off? Diversity, so the chant goes, enriches us all. I am sure this list will get a lot of attention in the next few weeks. So for now, thank you Colleges for stepping up and helping the poor afford colleges. 



The corruption of college admissions

As NACAC is set to deliberate on changing Statements of Principles of Good Practices to firmly straddle the line re using commission based agents (“We do not think it is a good idea, but since you are going to do it don’t let the agents take advantage of it and for heaven’s sake, don’t pay the high school counselor”), the media has been abuzz with many different articles focusing on the admission landscape. The articles range from cringe worthy to straight up corruption:

Boston Magazine pulls back the curtain to reveal how Northeastern “gamed” the system to improve their ranking from 162 in 1996 to 49 last year. Did they do anything wrong? unlike some other schools who cheated and lied to improve their rankings, Northeastern simply spent money–new dorms, more professors and meetings to press the flesh and impress other college leaders. 

Bloomberg BusinessWeek profiles Steven Ma, a former Hedge fund analyst turned college admission consultant, and his burgeoning business. He says he can get you into any school…or your money back. He claims to have cracked the code and can accurately predict the likelihood of admissions. He then offers to guarantee admissions. You tell him which college, he tells you a price. You pay. Your kid gets in, he keeps the money. Your kid does not get in, he gives the money back. Of course he is earning interest on your money in the months or even years in between. 

Another person ever so willing to take your money is Eunice Park, who tells how she has been ghost writing student application essays. She shows no remorse as she pens:

I’m a black market college admissions essay writer, and over the last three years I’ve written over 350 fraudulent essays for wealthy Chinese exchange students. Although my clients have varied from earnest do-gooders to factory tycoon’s daughters who communicate primarily through emojis, they all have one thing in common: They’re unable to write meaningful sentences.

She prostitutes her experiences for $400 a pop. 

Anthony Green tutors kids on the SAT for an enormous fee. $1000 an hour. On Skype. And you have to pay for 14 90 minute sessions. Apparently he has to turn away people. 

In each article you hear the sound of money swapping hands and for what purpose? Not to get into college, but to get into an elite college: The Ivies and little Ivies, perhaps a tech like one the Pasadena or Boston or another top 30 school. And yet, at least one of their former professors commands you to not Send your kid to the Ivies. William Deresiewicz missed tenure at Yale so has taken it out on the students he calls Excellent Sheep:

Look beneath the façade of seamless well-adjustment, and what you often find are toxic levels of fear, anxiety, and depression, of emptiness and aimlessness and isolation. A large-scale survey of college freshmen recently found that self-reports of emotional well-being have fallen to their lowest level in the study’s 25-year history.


Steven Pinker aims to defend education at the elites, but comes across partly agreeing with Deresiewicz and partly protective papa bear arguing his poor students are just too busy doing stuff to think. 

Knowing how our students are selected, I should not have been surprised when I discovered how they treat their educational windfall once they get here. A few weeks into every semester, I face a lecture hall that is half-empty, despite the fact that I am repeatedly voted a Harvard Yearbook Favorite Professor, that the lectures are not video-recorded, and that they are the only source of certain material that will be on the exam. I don’t take it personally; it’s common knowledge that Harvard students stay away from lectures in droves, burning a fifty-dollar bill from their parents’ wallets every time they do. Obviously they’re not slackers; the reason is that they are crazy-busy. Since they’re not punching a clock at Safeway or picking up kids at day-care, what could they be doing that is more important than learning in class? The answer is that they are consumed by the same kinds of extracurricular activities that got them here in the first place.

Many pundits have weighed in, arguing both sides for and against elite education. Well worth reading is Maureen O’Connor’s essay “The New Privilege: Loudly Denouncing Your Privilege.” This is none better illustrated than by Alexander Nazaryan’s piece for  Newsweek: “American Horror, Ivy League Edition

Together, these three books make a persuasive case that the Ivy League is, collectively, a moribund institution, a triumph of marketing whose allure far exceeds its social utility. After all, if our finest colleges can neither turn relatively privileged men like Lohse into models of society nor vault someone like Peace out of the urban destitution from which he’d so nearly escaped, then what are they good for? Perhaps what Will Hunting says to a pompous Harvard scholar is really true: “You dropped a hundred and fifty grand on an education you coulda’ picked up for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library.” Except, of course, an Ivy League education has become even more obscenely expensive in the 17 years since Good Will Hunting romanticized Southie autodidactism.


Nazaryan’s calls up a couple of tell all articles of frat boys gone wild and alumni drug dealers who end up dead. While he rehashing some of the same points Deresiewicz spelled out, he lays the blame more squarely at the professors:

There is another striking similarity between Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: the absence of professors. Lohse went to a small college that, according to U.S. News & World Report, had the best undergraduate teaching in the nation; Peace to a world-class research university that managed to keep an impressive 6-to-1 faculty ratio. And yet neither had a professor who spoke to him, who pulled him aside, suggested over a beer that things were slipping out of hand. Both met with deans over disciplinary matters, Lohse for cocaine (possession of which precipitated his eventual separation from his fraternity) and Peace for weed. But that isn’t quite the same.

I strongly suspect that Deresiewicz was the kind of professor—attentive, perceptive, kind—who took care to know his students. But that is a rarity, as he surely knows. He must know, too, that if the Ivy League is turning out imperfect citizens, then its imperfect teachers are to blame. He says as much, arguing that “professors don’t care because they have no incentive to care.” Forget the mentorship of lost souls like Lohse and Peace; some in the professoriate farm out the most basic aspects of instruction to already overworked adjuncts.

How bad is the student-teacher interaction at thee elite colleges like the Ivies? The most useful indication would be the NSEE, but none of the elites make their student survey’s of engagement available. 

Gallup partnered up with Purdue to investigate what experiences matters in college in producing engaged and happy workers later in life. Three of the six items they found had everything to do with professors. Sadly, few students experience all three (let alone all six) in their college lives:

   I had at least one professor at [College] who made me excited about learning. (63%)

   My professors at [College] cared about me as a person. (27%)

   I had a mentor who encouraged me to pursue my goals and dreams. (22%)

The two proxies we do have are Princeton Review’s list of great professors and Rate My Professor. 


Princeton Review

Best professor’s list

Rate My Professor


























 Honestly, I am surprised how few professor’s the Ivies have on the list. The Rate My Professor’s averages seem ok. But how do they compare to some of the great Liberal art schools the Deresiewicz identifies (I added 3 other liberal arts colleges to bring it up to 8)


Princeton Review

Best professor’s list

Rate My Professor














Mount Holyoke



Harvey Mudd



Sarah Lawrence






So while our Liberal arts colleges have overall more great teachers, their averages are only slightly better than the Ivies. What to make of this? 

1) Professors matter. Investigate who is teaching at the college and what the students experience of them are. 

2) Newspapers aim to sell. Stories of sensational nature provoke our interest. 

3) Regardless where you go, you have a choice of how you participate in your college experience. 

How to game the rankings and win

Very interesting and informative article of how one college “gamed the system” to improve their rankings. BY gaming, they simply spent more money to hire more faculty and recruit more students, builty more dorms to attract more students, change SAT pocilies to remove a barrier for admission to overseas students. They pressed the flesh and impressed upon those who voted that Northeastern was doing great things. It worked:


College essay help is on the way

Ah the joy of the college essay!

Need help? Aside from my own section in this blog, check out my friend’s iphone/ipad app, College Essay Brainstorm. It’s simplicity is really what makes it a unique offering for the college applicant. This app does just what you need: Ask you questions to help you focus on the creating a compelling essay. Created by international school counselor, Chris Polley, this app is packed with the questions your counselor would be asking if they had the time to be with you. 


This handy app is also available for Android devices. Check out this list of College Application apps at CollegeStats

And of course…everyone’s favorite inight into the college admission process, Doonsebury:

Using technology to be a more productive student

Most of us would agree that technology gives us so many positive things; like all great power, it needs to be treated with respect. All too often students get sucked into technology vortex that leaves them unaware they are gasping. The National Sleep Foundation research shows sleep deprivation can impair the following brain functions that directly affect learning and school performance:

  • the ability to pay attention
  • verbal creativity and communication skills
  • creative problem solving
  • mental sharpness
  • adaptive learning and problem solving that involves the combination of new learning with previous knowledge in order to solve problems
  • overall mood and motivation, including increased irritability, low tolerance for frustration, and increased aggressive behavior.

While parent controls can help, they are easily circumvented. I like Questudio, however, as it not only blocks but inform. Here are some more tips:

1) Get your screens out of the bedrom

No Laptops, TVSs, ipads, etc. Don’t even use your smart phone as an alarm. Why? Two reasons:

a) Self control. More screens = less sleep.National Sleep Foundation polls show approximately 95% of Americans use an electronic device within an hour of going to sleep. In 2013, the foundation found that 89% of adults and 75% of children have at least one electronic device in their bedrooms. Source: CNN

B Turns out the blue light emitted from these devices causes us to be alert, much like we would be in daylight. 

If you really, really must use electronic devices before bedtime install this free application on your computer, phone and tablets. It progressively removes blue light as it becomes later in the day. 

2) Improving sleep resuls in higher academic performance. 

Indeed, one school district reported over 200 point average gain in the SAT. Bob Strickland explains the importance of sleep to aiding learning and Memory. He expands on the importance of sleep in this TED talk:

4) Sleep improves mood. 

Any parent would say, “well, Duh!” to that. But it goes deeper. ”There’s a big relationship between psychiatric and psychological problems and sleep. So people who are depressed or have anxiety often have trouble with sleep as part of those disorders,” says Dr. Lawrence Epstein, Medical Director of Sleep Health Centers and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. “Chronic sleep deprivation in adolescents diminishes the brain’s ability to learn new information, and can lead to emotional issues like depression and aggression. Researchers now see sleep problems as a cause, and not a side effect, of teenage depression. In one study by researchers at Columbia University, teens who went to bed at 10 p.m. or earlier were less likely to suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts than those who regularly stayed awake well after midnight.” Source: Brainpckings

Another vieo from the Harvard Sleep Center to explain:

Sleep also has a profound effect on other aspects of health, such as diabetes, obesity. 

5) Have a tech crewfew. 

Clearly, schools give homewor and good students do homework. But our teens need help. While there are parental controls on mac, thesea re easily hacked by the students. Better to have an honest discussion, set limits and have a clear time for 

a) Turning off the internet and

b) stop using electronics (see above)

Amy Smith, over at the Health Teacher, has sme straightforward tips for achieving a tech balance. 

6) Change your attitude from FOMO to YOLO

You only live once, so why are you fearing missing out, living yur life with one eye on your social streams via facebook, tumblr, texts etc. 

7) Use technology to scaffold self control in yourself.

I mentioned parent controls. There are some applications that can actually help you in a more positive way manage your time on line and educate you in how you are using your ethnology. Download these apps now and use them

a) Self-Control
What better way to exert Self Control but than by telling your computer to not let you go somewhere for a predetermined time.

Seff-Control is free, simple soultion. A more powerful solution is Concentrate

b) Download focus writer

and you will have a far more productive desktop to takle those college essays and school work. Focus Writer simply gives you a clean desktop hiding all other distractions. 

c) Schedule regular breaks.

Get Time out and force yoruself off teh computer. You put in your scheduled breaks and how long they should last and time lout will lock you out of the computer forcing you to go outside and play. Kinda like a mother back in the old days. 

Turns out we may all be suffering from Screen Apnea, so this application will help.

8) Get your homework space set up. 

Parents should not let their kids use their laptop in the bedroom (see item 1). So set up a place for you to do homework. And since laptops reek havoc on our posture, time to get the homespace set up with an ergonomic keyboard and a laptop stand

9) Set times and limits for instant messaging. 

If you can ban skype etc, go for it. But prohibition rarely works. Rather allow your student to have set times to be available via IM. 

10) Teach, model and demand courtesy

Do you text during family dinners? Is it ok to take a phone call during a serious conversation? It strikes me as absurd how little effort is being made to show good manners when it comes to using technology and social interaction. 

a) No texting at the dinner table. Period. 

b) No texting in class. Period. 

c) Turn off your phone in class and assemblies

d) The person you are with is worth your attention. 

A more developed reasoing can be found here. While I am harping on manners: Please and thank you go a long way as does holding doors open for people. 

ANd one last video from Linda Stone on Continious Partial Attention:

May I have your attention please? – Linda Stone – SIME 09 from Ayman van Bregt on Vimeo.

GAP Year revisited

As you begin the colege application process begins, why not consider a GAP year. AS the Harvard Political Review explains

With many students, building deep, meaningful relationships with others [becomes] increasingly important. They remove the focus on themselves and shift to become more others-oriented.” College administrators anticipate that the development in social values will positively influence college communities and, moreover, civic life. According to O’Shea, “Students come back wanting to have a greater and more active sense of community, which is important for democratic life and public life generally.”

Abigail Falik is the founder and CEO of Global Citizen Year, an award-winning social venture that is building a pipeline of emerging leaders who have the global skills to thrive in college and 21st century careers. Under her leadership, Global Citizen Year has developed a model to train a diverse corps of high school graduates through apprenticeships across Africa, Latin America and Asia during a transformative bridge year before college. Today, Abigail leads the global team: setting organizational strategy, securing resources and building the cross-sector partnerships to ensure that someday, an immersive global “bridge year” becomes the norm, rather than the exception.


As you begin the colege application process begins, why not consider a GAP year. AS the Harvard Political Review explains

With many students, building deep, meaningful relationships with others [becomes] increasingly important. They remove the focus on themselves and shift to become more others-oriented.” College administrators anticipate that the development in social values will positively influence college communities and, moreover, civic life. According to O’Shea, “Students come back wanting to have a greater and more active sense of community, which is important for democratic life and public life generally.”

Abigail Falik is the founder and CEO of Global Citizen Year, an award-winning social venture that is building a pipeline of emerging leaders who have the global skills to thrive in college and 21st century careers. Under her leadership, Global Citizen Year has developed a model to train a diverse corps of high school graduates through apprenticeships across Africa, Latin America and Asia during a transformative bridge year before college. Today, Abigail leads the global team: setting organizational strategy, securing resources and building the cross-sector partnerships to ensure that someday, an immersive global “bridge year” becomes the norm, rather than the exception.


Colleges that require the SAT Subject tests



California Institute of Technology

Carnegie Mellon University (PA) – exception: non-architecture majors, College of Fine

Arts (neither required nor recommended)

Cornell University (NY) – exception: applicants to Agriculture/Life Sciences, to Human Ecology and to Industrial/Labor Relations (Subject Tests optional for these schools)

Dartmouth College (NH)

Harvard/Radcliffe Colleges (MA)#

Harvey Mudd College (CA)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Princeton University (NJ)

Webb Institute of Naval Architecture (NY)

Williams College (MA)


# –note: Harvard will waive Subject Test requirements for those with financial hardship or those who select to be evaluated without Subject Tests.  See Harvard entry above with statement extracted directly from website 




Amherst College (MA)                                   Barnard College (NY)

Brown University (RI)                                   Columbia University (NY)                

Duke University (NC)                                                Haverford College (PA)

McGill University (PQ)                                 Pomona College (CA)

Rice University (TX)                                     Swarthmore College (PA)*

Tufts University (MA)                                  University of Pennsylvania

Vassar College (NY)                                       Wellesley College (MA)

Wesleyan College (CT)                                   Yale University (CT)


*–note: other testing options obtain for Swarthmore that may also vitiate need for submission of Subject Tests

This list was compiled by Cigus Vanni, New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling Executive Board Member and former member of the Professional Development Committee of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (2007-2010).  Permission to duplicate is freely and happily granted—distribution trumps attribution.

Other colleges polices on testing

All data provided on this list are current for the 2014-2015 school year.  Special circumstances and unusual conditions are indicated wherever known, so please read this list carefully.  In all cases, however, be certain to double-check with the school(s) to which you are applying to assure that information on SAT Subject testing is both accurate and up-to-date.  Sources of information consulted in the compilation of this list include: The College Handbook 2015, published by The College Board; individual college catalogs and web pages; the Common Data Set of The College Board; and direct contact with individual admission offices


            The list is organized by state with colleges and universities listed alphabetically within each section.  If no bracketed statement follows the name of the college, SAT Subject Tests are REQUIRED for admission to that school.  The number of SAT Subject Tests required for admission follows the name of the school.  If specific SAT Subject Tests are prescribed, this is indicated by <characters in carats>—otherwise, students are free to submit any SAT Subject Tests of their choosing.  In all other cases—SAT Subject Tests recommended or known special circumstances—specific information is provided if it is known.  If there is a particular number of SAT Subject Tests a school recommends, this is noted; if the school in question does not specify a number, the designation is simply “recommended.”


            A special note to homeschooled students: your requirements may be somewhat more extensive than those for individuals that attend public or private school.  Please be certain to check with each individual college or university regarding SAT Subject Test requirements (or recommendations) for homeschooled students.  The same goes for international students as regards differential expectations and requirements (such as TOEFL, ELPT or additional Subject Tests).  Please be sure to check with each individual college or university to which you apply!



NOTE:           All references to SAT are to the “new” version of the test (March

2005 and later) containing a Writing section; all references to ACT are to the version with Writing (February 2005 and later)



[last updated August 3, 2014, at 12:37 PM]



University of Alberta [“Applicants from the US may be considered for

admission in one of three ways, [including the attainment of] an acceptable score on the SAT Subject Test in the appropriate subjects.  These are: Biology E or M, 590; Chemistry, 600; Chinese, 750; French, 580; German, 560; Hebrew, 600; Italian, 620; Japanese, 620; Korean, 600; Latin, 600; Literature, 550; Math Level 2, 600; Physics, 600; Spanish, 570; US History, 620; World History, 620.  Critical Reading (550) from the SAT Reasoning Test may be used to meet the English subject requirement.  Grade equivalencies or AP/IB test results or Subject Test scores must be presented in five different curriculum areas: English, Humanities (includes History and Languages), Fine Arts (no Subject Tests in Fine Arts), Mathematics and Science”]




California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) <must take Math Level 2

and either Physics, Chemistry or Biology>

            Chapman University [optional and used for placement]

            Claremont McKenna College [optional—will be used for placement

purposes only if submitted]

            Deep Springs College [optional—will be used “to better understand a

student” if sent]

Harvey Mudd College <must take Math Level 2 and one

of student’s choice>

          Mills College [recommended if student application “may be enhanced”

by submission of Subject Tests]

            Occidental College [optional]

Pomona College [ACT may be submitted in lieu of both SAT Reasoning

and two Subject Tests “which are not in the same field”]

Scripps College [optional—will be considered if submitted]

Stanford University [‘recommended but not required”; if Math,                                                                                              Level 2 preferred]

University of California system—[recommended—see below reprinted

directly from UC website]


Recommended SAT Subject Tests

Remember, these are recommendations, not mandates. You will not be penalized for failing to take the SAT Subject Tests. On the other hand, submission of these test scores (just like submission of AP and/or IB scores) may add positively to the review of your application


College of Chemistry and College of Engineering: Math Level 2 and a science test (Biology E/M, Chemistry, or Physics) closely related to the applicant’s intended major


Not recommended for any area


Henry Samueli School of Engineering: Math Level 2 and a science test (Biology E/M, Chemistry, or Physics) closely related to the applicant’s intended major.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences: Biology M, Chemistry, and/or Math Level 2

School of Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Math Level 2 for chemistry, earth system science, mathematics, and physics majors.

Program in Public Health: Biology E, Biology M, and/or Chemistry for public health science majors; Biology E, Biology M, and/or World History for public health policy majors


Los Angeles

Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science: Math Level 2 and a science test (Biology E/M, Chemistry, or Physics) closely related to the applicant’s intended major


No recommendation at this time


College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Bourns College of Engineering: Math 2 and Chemistry or Physics, for all majors

San Diego

Jacobs School of Engineering and biological or physical sciences majors: Math Level 2 and a science test (Biology E/M, Chemistry, or Physics) closely related to the applicant’s intended major

Santa Barbara

College of Engineering: Math Level 2

College of Creative Studies:

·             Math Level 2 for math majors

·             Math Level 2 and Physics for physics majors

·             Biology for biology majors

·             Chemistry for biochemistry and chemistry majors

·             Math Level 2 for computer science majors


Santa Cruz

Not recommended for any area

University of Southern California [recommended: “we find them helpful in

evaluating applications for merit scholarships”]

University of the Pacific [“strongly recommended” in Math Level 1 or 2 for

all applicants for placement purposes; “strongly recommended” in Math Level 1 or 2 and Chemistry for the following majors: biological sciences; biochemistry; bioengineering; chemistry; chemistry-biology; civil engineering; dental hygiene; electrical engineering; engineering management; engineering physics; mechanical engineering; physics; pre-dental studies; pre-medical studies; pre-pharmacy studies]





Connecticut College [submission of standardized testing optional; if 

   submitted, student may choose from SAT or ACT or two Subject Tests]

Trinity College [requires “one or more” of the following: ACT, SAT or any

two Subject Tests]

Wesleyan University [optional—will be considered if submitted]

Yale University [ACT may be submitted in lieu of both SAT and

   two Subject Tests; “Bear in mind, however, that some Yale

   departments may use the SAT and/or SAT Subject Tests for course    





University of Delaware [two recommended, especially for candidates to

Honors Program]




American University [recommended, especially for placement purposes in

mathematics and world languages]

Catholic University of America [Subject Test or AP/IB exam in Language

recommended for Arts/Sciences and Philosophy candidates

prior to matriculation—can take university placement test or submit AP/IB results if no prior exam; Subject Tests recommended in other disciplines and used for placement purposes]

            George Washington University [required for applicants to accelerated

BA/MD program: any math and any science;  “strongly recommended” for candidates to University Honors Program—any two of student’s choice; recommended for all other applicants]

Georgetown University [three “strongly recommended”]




Florida Atlantic University [recommended for applicants to 7 year BS/MD

program in math (Level 2), biology, chemistry and literature]

University of Florida [optional and used for placement only—if submitting

math, must be Level 2]

University of Miami [Subject Tests required in Math and one Science for

all applicants to Honors Program in Medicine]




Emory University [“encouraged”—this includes students applying to

Oxford College of Emory University]

Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) [optional—used for

                        placement and credit in engineering and chemistry]

            University of Georgia [recommended for placement purposes, especially

in math]




Northwestern University [Math Level 2; Chemistry; and Physics required of

applicants to Integrated Science Program; Math Level 2 and Chemistry required of applicants to Honors Program in Medical Education; two recommended for all other applicants]




Indiana University Bloomington [optional—Biology E or M Subject test

                        used for placement/credit purposes if submitted]

University of Notre Dame [Subject Tests “only considered in admission

process if scores enhance an application” and are “also used for credit and placement in the first year of studies in French, Italian, German and Spanish”]




            Bates College [SAT Reasoning and Subject Tests optional—will be

considered in admission process if submitted]

            Bowdoin College [SAT Reasoning and Subject Tests optional—will be

considered in admission process if submitted]

Colby College [applicants may submit SAT or ACT or three Subject

Tests in different areas (cannot submit Math 1 and Math 2 or Spanish and Spanish with Listening, e.g.)]




Johns Hopkins University [two “strongly encouraged”; if applying in

Engineering, Math Level 2 and one science Subject Test “strongly encouraged”]




            Amherst College [ACT may be submitted in lieu of SAT

and two Subject Tests]

            Babson College [optional—will consider if submitted; “the Admissions

Committee will review any other exam results that applicants wish to submit”]

            Bentley University [optional—will consider if submitted]

Boston College [optional“students are welcome to submit Subject

Tests for consideration.  Subject Tests may be used for placement in World Language in first year studies”]

            Boston University [SAT or ACT and Subject Tests required for accelerated

programs: Accelerated Liberal Arts/Medical Education Combined Degree Program: two Subject Tests—Chemistry and Math

                        Level 2 required, Subject Test in world language recommended;

                        Accelerated Liberal Arts/Dental Education Combined Degree

                        Program: two Subject Tests—Chemistry and Math Level 2

required, Subject Test in world language recommended

College of the Holy Cross [“submission of all standardized testing is

entirely voluntary”; will consider Subject Tests in admission if


Hampshire College [submission of standardized testing optional, Subject

Tests considered if submitted]

Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges <”normally, two”> [you may apply                                         without them if the cost of taking the tests represents a


financial hardship or if you prefer to have your application

considered without them”  For those who do submit:Students should not submit two Subject Tests in math.  Candidates whose first language is not English should NOT use a Subject Test in their first language to meet Subject Test requirements”]

            Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) <one Math, one Science>

            Olin College of Engineering [recommended]

Smith College [submission of standardized testing optional—will

consider Subject Tests if submitted]

Tufts University [ACT may be submitted in lieu of both SAT and two

Subject Tests; if SAT option chosen, prospective engineering

majors required to submit either Math Level 1 or Level 2 and

either Chemistry or Physics; prospective science/math majors

in Arts/Sciences math and science Subject Tests recommended]

            Wellesley College [ACT may be submitted in lieu of both SAT and

two Subject tests; prospective science/math majors are “strongly

encouraged” to submit at least one in quantitative subject]

            Wheaton College [submission of standardized testing optional, will

consider Subject Tests if submitted]

            Williams College <two>




University of Michigan [optional: “if you include these (Subject Tests) results as part of your application, we will consider them only in light of how they might benefit your review”]




            Carleton College [optional]

            Macalester College [optional—will be considered if submitted]




            Deep Springs College [optional—will be used “to better understand a

student” if sent]




            Dartmouth College <two>




Princeton University <two; prospective engineers must submit Physics or

Chemistry and Math Level 1 or Math Level 2>

            Stevens Institute of Technology [two Subject Tests recommended if

applying for accelerated law degree; Math Level 1 or Math Level 2 and Biology or Chemistry required if applying for accelerated pre-medical or pre-dental degrees]




Barnard College [ACT may be submitted in lieu of SAT and two Subject


            Clarkson University [recommended]

Columbia University [ACT may be submitted in lieu of SAT and two

Subject Tests; if submitting SAT, prospective engineering students must submit Math Level 1 or Level 2 and a science exam]

Cooper Union [Math Level 1 or Level 2 and Physics or Chemistry

required of engineering applicants]

Cornell University [required or optional as below]

            Agriculture and Life Sciences: optional

            Architecture, Art and Planning: Architecture applicants required

Math Level 1 or Level 2

            Arts and Sciences: two required

            Engineering: required Science and Math

            Hotel Administration: required Math Level 1 or Level 2

            Human Ecology: optional

            Industrial and Labor Relations: optional

            Fordham University [optional—used only to “benefit student” in review]

Hamilton College [submit one of the following: ACT; SAT; any of these

three SAT Subject tests—math, chemistry, physics; three Advanced Placement (AP) tests; three International Baccalaureate (IB) tests; or a combination of any three of the preceding exams, provided that at least one is verbal/writing and one is quantitative; AP English Literature not accepted as verbal/writing submission; AP Statistics not accepted as quantitative submission]

            Hobart and William Smith Colleges [submission of standardized testing

optional—will be considered if submitted]

            Hofstra University [submission of standardized testing optional—will

be considered if submitted]

Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Albert List College [two Subject

    Tests required for applicants to Double Degree Program with Barnard]

New York University (NYU) [must provide one of the following:

                        SAT or ACT or three Subject Tests (one in literature or humanities:

                        US History, World History or Literature; one in math or science; and

                        one in non-language test of student’s choice) or three IB HL or

AP Exam scores (one in literature or humanities: AP English Literature, AP English Language, AP US History, AP World History, AP European History; one in math or science: AP Calculus AB or BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics 1, 2, B or either C; one in non-language of student choice; or evidence of completion of the IB Diploma.  AP and IB exams must be taken prior to senior year to be applicable during the admissions cycle.  Applicants to the Stern School of Business who do not provide SAT or ACT scores must provide a score from a mathematics examination.  Note also this statement on the NYU website: “Students may instead select to submit result from a nationally accredited exam that is considered locally to signify the completion of secondary education; is administered independently of the student’s school; and has been approved by the NYU Office of Admissions”]

Pratt Institute [Level 1 or 2 math recommended for applicants

to architecture program]

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) [Subject Tests in Math and Science

                        required of all applicants to accelerated degree programs in law

and medicine; optional for all other candidates]

Skidmore College [two “strongly recommended”—Subject Tests in

language used for placement]

            State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo [recommended in

                                                world language for placement]

Union College [standardized testing optional, except: applicants to eight-

year BS/MD program in Leadership in Medicine and Health Management must submit SAT and one math and one science Subject Test or ACT]

University of Rochester [SAT or ACT or two or more Subject Tests or IB

HL exams or AP exams or results from national secondary school exams such as British A level can be submitted; Math and Biology or Chemistry Subject Tests “strongly encouraged” for all applicants to Rochester Early Medical Scholars Program]

            Vassar College [ACT may be submitted in lieu of both SAT and

two Subject Tests “in different academic areas”]

            Webb Institute (of Naval Architecture) <Chemistry or Physics;

                        and Math Level 1 or Math Level 2>




Davidson College [two “recommended”: one Math and one of

student choice if submitting SAT instead of ACT]

Duke University [ACT may be submitted in lieu of both SAT and Subject

Tests; if ACT submitted, Arts/Sciences applicants are “encouraged” to take Subject Tests in World Language; Engineering applicants required to submit Math Level 1 or Math Level 2 and one other of student’s choice]

North Carolina State University [Math Level 2; an AP Calculus exam

(AB or BC); or completion of NC State Online Math Skill Test

required of accepted students who wish to enroll in

a university mathematics course]

            University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill [“you are welcome to provide any

Subject Test results”; Math Level 2; AP Calculus AB or

BC; or IB Math HL exams required of accepted students for placement purposes only if student will enroll in a Calculus course; Math Level 1 required of accepted students for placement purposes only if student does not intend to enroll in a non-Calculus math course; Subjects Tests in Latin, German, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and French optional and used for placement purposes only]

            Wake Forest University [optional—will be considered if submitted]




Case Western Reserve University [optional“you may send them if you

feel they strengthen your application”]

            Kenyon College [optional—will be considered if submitted]

            Oberlin College [optional“if you take any Subject exams, you may

send us your scores”]




            University of Toronto <required as follows>

                        Applied Science and Engineering: three—Chemistry, Physics

and Math; applicant may also submit any combination of three AP, IB or Subjects tests in these areas to fulfill this requirement

                        Architecture, Landscape and Design: Architecture candidates only

                                    must submit two, one of which must be in math; candidate

                                    may also use AP or IB tests to fulfill this requirement

                        Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences: two of student’s choice “in

different subject areas”; however, one Math Subject Test required for any math-based major; applicant may also take any combination of two AP, IB or Subject Tests in different subject areas to fulfill this requirement

                        Commerce, Business, Management: same as above

                        Computer Science: same as above

                        Life/Biological Sciences and Psychology: same as above

                        Music: same as above

                        Physical Education and Health/Kinesiology: same as above

                        Physical/Mathematical/Chemical Sciences: same as above

                        Teacher Education: same as above




            Reed College [optional—will be considered if submitted]






            Allegheny College [optional—will be considered if submitted]

            Bryn Mawr College [optional—will be considered if submitted]

            Bucknell University [optional—will be considered if submitted; Subject

Test in World language recommended for placement purposes]

Carnegie Mellon University [required or otherwise as below]

            Carnegie Institute of Technology [Math Level 1 or 2 and

                                    Chemistry or Physics required]

            College of Fine Arts: Architecture [same as above]

            College of Fine Arts: Other [neither required nor recommended]

            College of Humanities and Social Sciences [Math Level 1 or 2

                                    and one of student’s choice required]

            Information Systems [same as above]

            Mellon College of Science [Math Level 1 or 2 and one of the

                        three sciences: Biology, Physics, Chemistry required]

            School of Computer Science [same as above except Biology

must be Biology M (molecular)]

            Tepper School of Business [Math Level 1 or 2 and one of

                        student’s choice, preferably a science]

Dickinson College [optional—considered if submitted; SAT and ACT

optional though required for scholarship consideration]

Franklin and Marshall College [submission of testing optional—if not

submitted, student must submit two recent (junior or senior year) graded writing samples; Subject Tests “may be submitted to demonstrate student’s strength within academic subjects”]

            Haverford College [ACT may be submitted in lieu of both SAT and

                                                two Subject Tests]

Lafayette College [Subject Tests recommended, considered for placement

“in some academic departments” if submitted]

            Lehigh University [recommended for placement; applicants to BA/MD

degree program “highly recommended” to take any math

and Chemistry Subject Test]

Susquehanna University [recommended “to provide valuable information

about admission”; students may submit two graded writing samples in lieu of SAT or ACT]

Swarthmore College [one of three options: SAT and two Subject Tests of

student’s choice; or ACT; or SAT and ACT with or without Writing; engineering applicants “encouraged” to submit Math Level 2 regardless of whether SAT or ACT is presented]

            University of Pennsylvania [ACT may be submitted in lieu of both SAT

and two Subject Tests; if submitting SAT and Subject Tests, please see information as follows:

Engineering/Applied Science “strongly encouraged” to submit Math Level 2 and physics;

Wharton “strongly encouraged’ to submit Math Level 2;

Nursing “strongly encouraged’ to submit a science test, preferably Chemistry;

Vagelos Dual Degree Program in Life Sciences and Management

“one Subject Test of two required in Science or Math”




University of Puerto Rico, Bayamon University College and Mayaguez campus

[recommended; exams in Spanish, in literature and in math required from English speaking US applicants]




            McGill University [ACT may be submitted in lieu of both SAT and

Subject Tests; if submitting Subject Tests, see below]

Agricultural/Environmental Sciences: one math and one science

Architecture: Math; Chemistry or Physics

Arts: any two Subject Tests

Arts and Science (BA): Math and one other of student’s choice

Dietetics/Nutrition: one math and one science

Education: any two Subject Tests

Engineering: Math and Chemistry or Physics

Kinesiology: two of the following—

            Biology, Chemistry, Math, Physics

Management: Math and one other of student’s choice

Music: Subject Tests neither required nor recommended

Nursing: two of the following—

            Biology, Chemistry, Math, Physics

Religious Studies: neither required nor recommended

Science (BS): two of the following—

            Biology, Chemistry, Math, Physics




            Brown University [ACT may be submitted in lieu of both SAT

                        and two Subject Tests; if applying to eight year accelerated

BA/MD Program in Liberal Medical Education and submitting

Subject Tests, one must be in science]




Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne [three AP exams, IB HL certificates or Subject

Tests or a combination of the three along with minimum 500 score per subtest on SAT required from applicants from USA who have not earned an IB Diploma with 28 points or more. “At least one of these [IB, AP, Subject Tests] should be in a quantitative or scientific subject”]




            Vanderbilt University [optional—will be considered if submitted and will

be used for placement purposes; “applicants to the School of

Engineering who choose to take Subject Tests are ‘strongly

encouraged’ to submit Math Level 1 or 2”]




Rice University [ACT may be submitted in lieu of SAT and two Subject

    Tests in “subjects related to student’s proposed area of study”]

            Trinity University [optional—considered if submitted]

University of Texas at Austin [Subject Tests in Latin, Korean, German,

Physics and Math used for placement purposes if submitted]




            King’s College of London [“applicants must study three subjects in

depth; we will therefore ask for three AP exams or three

Subject Tests (or any combination of these in three

different subjects) from applicants from the US”]




            Bennington College [all standardized testing optional; Subject Tests

                        will be considered if submitted]

            Middlebury College [SAT or ACT or three Subject Tests “in different

areas of study”]




            College of William and Mary [optional—will consider if submitted and used

for placement purposes in world languages]

George Mason University [submission of SAT and ACT optional if student is

in top 20% of class and/or has GPA of 3.5 or better on 4.0 scale; Subject Tests used for placement in World Languages if submitted]

            University of Mary Washington [optional—will be considered if submitted

and used for placement purposes in World Languages]

University of Virginia [“strongly recommended”]

            Washington and Lee University [two exams “in unrelated areas”

recommended—can’t submit Math Level 1 and Math Level 2, for example]








University of Toronto (U of T only requires three Subject Tests of applicants to one of its colleges [Applied Science and Engineering]; applicants to other colleges in the university may submit AP or IB tests combined with or in lieu of Subject Tests to fulfill this requirement [see listing for University of Toronto above])


Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne (may also submit three AP or IB exams or may qualify with 28 points or better on IB Diploma [see listing for Ecole above]


King’s College of London (may also submit a combination of AP exams and Subject Tests [see listing for King’s above])


There are NO schools in the United States that require submission of three Subject Tests