Elite Colleges Reconsidering SAT Score Requirements

Several elite universities are considering reversing recent decisions to reduce or even eliminate requirements for application that include standardized test scores such as the SAT exams.

According to Axios, multiple colleges used the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to weaken the importance of SAT and ACT test scores in most student applications. But in recent weeks, several schools have reversed course; Yale is considering repealing its prior policy of making SAT/ACT requirements optional, with Dartmouth already reinstating the requirements earlier this month. MIT reversed a similar policy back in 2022.

Other schools that have eliminated SAT/ACT requirements include Harvard and Columbia. Harvard, along with Cornell and Princeton, have extended their policy of making the scores optional, while Columbia’s policy remains permanent.

One of the motivating factors behind the reversal is ongoing research showing a clear correlation between students’ standardized test scores, and their subsequent academic performance and graduation rates in college. Some schools had previously opposed the test requirements for reasons of “diversity,” baselessly accusing the tests of being “racist” and against minority students.

Dartmouth pointed to a study that had been commissioned by the university’s president, which “confirms that standardized testing — when assessed using the local norms at a student’s high school” is crucial in evaluating an applicant’s potential.

In a statement, Yale’s undergraduate office said that they “expect to announce a decision on its long-term testing policy in the next few weeks.” In the meantime, students applying for the Fall of 2024 will still fall under the “not optional” category when it comes to standardized tests.

Brown University is currently awaiting a committee’s recommendations on how to move forward with standardized testing, as well as other practices such as legacy admissions and early decisions. The committee is expected to finish its report in the next few months.

There are still over 2,000 schools in the country which remain either optional or completely free of standardized test requirements ahead of the 2024-2025 academic year. Meanwhile, the National Education Association (NEA) has demanded that all colleges eliminate testing requirements, with NEA president Becky Pringle declaring in a statement that “All students deserve and have the ability to demonstrate knowledge in many ways that are measurable by those who know them best: Their educators.”

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

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