Harvard Will Again Require Test Scores for Admission

Debate has involved whether SAT and ACT help or hurt efforts to diversify student body
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2024 4:50 PM CDT
Harvard Will Again Require Test Scores for Admission
Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., in 2008.   (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File)

Like Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown before it, Harvard has dropped its admissions policy that made submitting standardized test scores optional. The change will apply to Harvard applicants for the fall 2025 term and beyond, after the school had said the tests would not be required for another year, the New York Times reports. The SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests had been falling out of favor, with almost 2,000 US colleges dropping the requirement in the past few years. That picked up during the pandemic, when it could be problematic for students to go to a test site. Harvard made the change in June 2020.

Part of the argument against the tests is they hurt efforts to diversify by discouraging poor students or those from underrepresented groups from applying if they don't have stellar test scores. The counter to that is that not having test scores made it more difficult to identify promising students. "The virtue of standardized tests is their universality," said a Harvard professor who has studied college admissions, per the Harvard Gazette. "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," David Deming said. (More Harvard stories.)

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