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Tests and the Rest: College Admissions Industry Podcast

Dec 26, 2023

Admissions factors in college applications often boil down to grades plus tests and then the rest. What happens when the influence of standardized scores is minimized or entirely excluded? Amy and Mike asked U of R Vice Provost and Dean of Enrollment Management Robert Alexander and educational consultant Aly Beaumont the million-dollar question: what do truly test-optional colleges focus on?

 What are five things you will learn in this episode?

  1. How do you know if a school is truly test-optional?

  2. What are the components of the application review process?

  3. What aspects of high school grades are most important?

  4. How can applicants communicate character through their applications?

  5. What is the benefit of submitting test scores to a truly test-optional school?


Dr. Robert J. Alexander serves as the vice provost and university dean of enrollment at the University of Rochester, with responsibility for more than 90 staff members across the offices of admissions, financial aid, and enrollment management, an operating budget of $9.4 million, and distribution of over $330 million in student aid. As a first-generation college graduate, his twenty-year professional career is animated by a passion for higher education’s transformational impact on a diverse array of students.

Alexander received his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, conducting dissertation research focused on higher education leadership and governance. He previously graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Paul Tulane College and an M.B.A. in Marketing and Management from Tulane’s A.B. Freeman School of Business and served on the Tulane Alumni Association Board of Directors. Originally from New York, Alexander serves as class fund chairman for his alma mater, Regis High School.

Alexander is active with the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the American Association of College Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO), the College Board, the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), and the American Marketing Association (AMA), speaking at national meetings regarding enrollment management and marketing strategies. His work has been published in national publications, including the Association of Governing Board's Trusteeship Magazine.

Before the University of Rochester, Alexander held senior administrative and teaching roles at various institutions across the United States. As vice president for enrollment and communications at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, his work increased undergraduate net revenue per student, doubled the representation of domestic students of color and the proportion of international students. As an academic leader and instructor of management, Alexander helped develop Millsaps’ nonprofit management program, and taught courses combining Liberal Arts and Business concepts to provide skills for graduates to positively impact their communities.

While serving as the associate provost for enrollment at University of the Pacific in northern California, Dr. Alexander coordinated strategic plans that dramatically increased prospective student interest, increased university-wide enrollment to record levels, while simultaneously improving academic quality and financial metrics. As assistant vice president for enrollment management at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, Alexander’s efforts during and following Hurricane Katrina successfully restored enrollment and improved the institution’s reputation and impact on its surrounding community.

Find Robert at ralexander@rochester.ed

Aly Beaumont is the founder of Admissions Village, a family focused, affordable, one-on-one college guidance consultancy. Aly is deeply committed to making the college admissions process less stressful, and her success with this objective can be measured by both the growing number of referrals she receives as well as the repeat business of family siblings. Aly is also a founder and advisor to The College T, a website connecting high school students with college students and recent graduates so that first-hand information and experiences can be shared.

Aly is a graduate of Tufts University where she majored in History with a concentration in Modern Women and African American History, and was captain of the Equestrian Team. She lives in Wilton, CT with her husband Perry, their two dogs Buddy and Buzz and their three sons. Two of their sons are currently in college at The University of St. Andrews in Scotland and Keyon College in Ohio, and one graduated from Santa Clara University. Aly is an Associate member of IECA and she has her certificate as an Independent Educational Consultant from the University of California Irvine.

Aly previously appeared on this podcast in episode 406 to discuss WHAT DOES UNHOOKED MEAN IN ADMISSIONS, in episode 341 to discuss COURSE SELECTION FOR HIGHLY SELECTIVE ADMISSIONS, in episode 212 to discuss PREPARATION FOR HIGHLY SELECTIVE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS and was the subject of an IEC PROFILE in episode 264.

Find Aly at


University of Rochester Testing Policies

Character Collaborative






Tests and the Rest is THE college admissions industry podcast. Explore all of our episodes on the show page.


Mike Bergin is the president of Chariot Learning and founder of TestBright. Amy Seeley is the president of Seeley Test Pros. If you’re interested in working with Mike and/or Amy for test preparation, training, or consulting, feel free to get in touch through our contact page.