Skip to main content

March 25th is Test Optional College Day

March 25th shall hereby be known officially as Test Optional College Day in America.

I'm not really sure how one makes such a proclamation, but I just did.  And I'm going to let it stand until someone tells me it's illegal.

Why March 25th?  It's the birthday of a person you probably never heard of, even though he's been called "the greatest human being that ever lived" and he won the Nobel Prize in 1970.  By some accounts, he saved a billion people on the planet from starvation.

That's a lot to accomplish in one lifetime, and having Test Optional College Day named after you seems pretty paltry by comparison.

So why Norman Borlaug?

The thing that struck me about Norman Borlaug in this Wikipedia biography was this

He failed his admission exam to the University of Minnesota.  (This was, of course, thirty years before any public university was using the SAT or ACT for admission). We'll probably never know why, of course, but it could have been a lot of things.  It certainly wasn't native ability.  It certainly wasn't drive or determination (thankfully, he persisted), and it wasn't a lack of empathy or compassion.

But think about it: That man, destined but not pre-ordained to such greatness, could have been stopped by a college entrance exam.  How many more Norman Borlaugs have been stymied by such things?  How many more are being stymied right now?  The Diamond in the Rough rhetoric the College Board likes to spin about the SAT helping us find talent never mentions students like Norman Borlaug, or worse, those whose names are lost to history, and whose potential was never realized.

It's one of the many reasons Oregon State University is now test optional for freshman admission.  You can read the details here.

It's another way we're looking out for our students Out Here in Oregon.