Harvard Reverses Course, Will Require Standardized Testing Again

 In a sudden reversal, Harvard College will reinstate its standardized testing requirement, meaning students will once again have to take the SAT or ACT to be accepted.

The surprise decision comes after Harvard previously said it would remain test-optional through the class of 2030. The Ivy League school first introduced the test-optional policy during the pandemic.

The new policy means any undergraduate applicants who were not planning on taking a test may have to work quickly to get their tests scheduled before the application deadlines later this year.

“Standardized tests are a means for all students, regardless of their background and life experience, to provide information that is predictive of success in college and beyond,” Harvard’s Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Hopi Hoekstra said in a statement.

“More information, especially such strongly predictive information, is valuable for identifying talent from across the socioeconomic range,” Hoekstra said. “With this change, we hope to strengthen our ability to identify these promising students.”

The decision also comes after several other Ivy League universities, Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown brought back their testing requirement as well. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology also reinstated its standardized test requirement back in 2022.

At least two Ivy Leagues, however, have extended their test-optional policy — Cornell and Columbia, which said its new policy is permanent.

Despite optional testing, the majority of Harvard undergrads have submitted standardized test scores anyway, the school said.


In announcing the new testing policy, Harvard referenced a Harvard-affiliated study that found SAT scores are a stronger predictor of college success than a high school student’s grade point average.

After COVID restrictions were lifted, Ivy League schools were criticized for extending the suspension of their test requirement. At the same time, others praised the move saying it could help more minorities get accepted to prestigious schools.

The argument that standardized testing hurts minority students has become more popular in recent years.

In 2020, the entire 10-school University of California system voted to permanently get rid of standardized tests. The move came after a lawsuit from students claiming the tests are racist and biased against disabled students. New York University, George Washington University, and University of Chicago have also joined the ranks of those that allow students to skip the tests.

However, others argue the tests actually help minority students.

Harvard economist David Deming, one of the economists behind the Harvard study, said the tests are the “fairest admissions policy for disadvantaged applicants.”

“Not everyone can hire an expensive college coach to help them craft a personal essay. But everyone has the chance to ace the SAT or the ACT,” Deming said.

Harvard Reverses Course, Will Require Standardized Testing Again Harvard Reverses Course, Will Require Standardized Testing Again Reviewed by Your Destination on April 13, 2024 Rating: 5

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