• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 3 comments on BU Is Making Standardized Tests Optional for Undergrad Applicants for Third Consecutive Year

  1. I think we will look back on this and wonder why society moved in this direction. Standardized testing isn’t perfect but it’s a lot less correlated with income than that extracircular mission trip to Costa Rica or interning at Mom and Dad’s business.

  2. Standardized testing was the only way that I made it into college.

    I grew up in rural America in chaotic surroundings, with no one in my family having enough experience to guide me or help me sort my way through college applications. Because of home-life disruptions, my early high school grades were bad. By the time I was a junior, I had things sorted out enough to sit for the ACT, where to my astonishment I scored very highly. I’d studied hard for the test (no private test-prep classes or tutors, just me and the materials) and some of my abilities showed up more clearly in the test than they could in my transcripts. Because of my good ACT scores, I got a scholarship to a small, under-the-radar liberal arts college. Eventually I found my footing, and came to BU for a master’s and PhD.

    I don’t look diverse on paper. But the obstacles I had to overcome in order to get into the small college that launched my academic career were daunting, and it was the clarity of the ACT that first made it possible. Without them, someone like me would never have eventually made it to Boston University for a doctorate. But something tells me that’s a not a bug of this new policy. It’s a feature.

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