On Wednesday, New York City’s Columbia University, one of the Ivy League schools, formally dropped its requirement for potential students to submit the results of their standardized test performances in order to apply.
According to the Daily Caller, Columbia’s announcement made it the first of the Ivy League schools to permanently remove the requirement for applicants to submit the results of their SAT or ACT tests; it had previously announced that it would make the test scores optional for students to submit, before making the policy permanent.
“Our review is purposeful and nuanced—respecting varied backgrounds, voices and experiences—in order to best determine an applicant’s suitability for admission and ability to thrive in our curriculum and our community, and to advance access to our educational opportunities,” the school’s announcement stated. “Standardized testing is not a required component of our application.”
Standardized tests have long been a staple of college admissions, gauging a students’ performance across multiple academic subjects at the end of their time in high school. Now, Columbia will rely more on other traditional factors, including grade point average (GPA), the personal application essay, class rank, letters of recommendation, and the difficulty of previous schools attended.
The policy of making test score submissions optional was first implemented during the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic, and had originally been extended through the 2023-2024 academic year before the school’s decision to leave it in place permanently. Other Ivy League schools have implemented the policy on a temporary basis, including Harvard University, Princeton University, Cornell University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Columbia published the data on its admissions process in September, in response to a scandal that broke after math professor Michael Thaddeus claimed that the university had misrepresented such data to the U.S. News and World Report ahead of its annual ranking of all universities in the country. As a result of the revelations, the university plummeted on the outlet’s list, dropping from second place to 18th.