LifestyleTop Colleges Are Requiring the SAT Once More: Here's Why

Top Colleges Are Requiring the SAT Once More: Here’s Why

The Transition Back to Standardized Testing in College Admissions

As the pandemic-era response to disruptions in college admissions winds down, some of the most highly selective colleges in the United States are reverting back to requiring standardized testing for first-year students. While standardized testing became optional for college admittance in fall 2021 at many institutions offering four-year degrees, recent announcements from schools like Brown University, Yale, Dartmouth, Georgetown, and MIT indicate a shift back towards mandatory testing. Is this a trend that will be followed by other schools?

Yale University made headlines in February by announcing that, starting in fall 2025, students will need to submit standardized test scores for admission. The options include traditional SAT or ACT scores, as well as scores from Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams. The decision to reinstate testing requirements came after a few years of observing that test-optional policies were disadvantageous to low-income students who opted not to submit their scores.

Dartmouth College also joined the ranks of universities returning to standardized testing for admissions. After conducting an internal study, Dartmouth President Sian Beilock found that low-income students who did not report their SAT scores, despite scoring in the 1400s, would have been accepted if their scores were considered. This revelation led to the reinstatement of testing requirements at Dartmouth.

While Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth are leading the way in reinstating testing requirements, they are in the minority among U.S. colleges. According to Bob Schaeffer from the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, the vast majority of approximately 2,300 four-year colleges in the country remain test-optional or test-blind. Thus, the shift back towards mandatory testing at select institutions may not be indicative of a broader trend.

On the other hand, there are institutions like the University of Michigan, a prestigious public university, that announced a permanent test-optional policy for 2025. This decision contrasts with the move towards standardized testing at other colleges. Ultimately, the debate over standardized testing in college admissions continues, with different schools taking varying approaches to address the issue of equity and access for all students.

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