Elite Colleges Are Bringing Back The SAT Requirement

Yale University may soon join Dartmouth and MIT by bringing back SAT/ACT test requirements for undergraduate admissions, spokesperson Karen Peart recently told Axios.

The move by Yale would bring the Ivy League school back to its admissions policy before the pandemic of requiring standardized test scores as part of the undergraduate application process. Yale’s undergraduate admissions office “expects to announce a decision on its long-term testing policy in the next few weeks,” Peart told Axios.

While some critics of standardized testing say tests are biased toward the communities that create them and can perpetuate disparate racial outcomes in higher education, research by the College Board points to a correlation between standardized college test scores and college grade point averages and graduation rates.

Several colleges and universities removed SAT/ACT test requirements from their admissions policies to boost attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now universities are beginning to walk that policy back. Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire reinstated SAT requirements this month. Cambridge’s MIT brought standardized tests back in 2022.

At Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, a committee has the standardized testing policy under review. According to Brian Clark, a Brown spokesperson, the school will decide whether to bring back testing in the coming months.

Meanwhile, Harvard, Cornell, and Princeton are extending their test-optional admissions policies and Columbia University has made its policy permanent.

“Given everything about the equity reasons for why they made the test optional, frankly, many of these institutions can’t go back on immediately,” said Allen Koh, founder, and CEO of Cardinal Education. “It will take some time, but I believe that the overall trend over the next several years will move towards more and more schools.”

According to a statement by Dartmouth, testing helps the college find students from backgrounds with fewer resources, but the aptitude to succeed in college. The college says its internal study found “that our holistic admissions approach … benefits from a careful consideration of testing information as part of their application package.”

“In particular, SAT/ACTs can be especially helpful in identifying students from less-resourced backgrounds who would succeed at Dartmouth but might otherwise be missed in a test-optional environment,” Dartmouth said.