Harvard University Joins Other Ivy League Schools in Reinstating SAT and ACT for Admissions

In a move following the lead of Ivy League counterparts like Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown, Harvard University has revealed its plan to reintroduce the standardized testing requirement for admissions starting with the Class of 2029.

“Applicants to Harvard College for the fall 2025 term will need to submit standardized test scores,” Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences declared on Thursday. “This updated policy will be in place for the Class of 2029 admissions process and will be reviewed regularly.”

Initially, Harvard had stated that the test-optional policy would remain until the Class of 2030 applications, as reported by The Harvard Crimson.

The university specified that while the SAT or ACT is acceptable “to fulfill the standardized test requirement,” other qualifying tests will be considered “in exceptional cases where those tests are not accessible.”

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Decision Influenced by a Range of Factors

Hopi Hoekstra, the Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, stated on Thursday that the choice to reintroduce testing after nearly four years was based on multiple factors.

“Standardized tests provide a means for all students, irrespective of their backgrounds and life experiences, to offer predictive information for success in college and beyond,” the Family expressed in a statement.

The dean highlighted that when students opt not to submit their test scores, they might withhold valuable information that “could have potentially improved their application.”

“In essence, more information, especially such highly predictive information, is crucial for identifying talent across the socioeconomic spectrum,” the Family added.

In line with other Ivy League institutions, Harvard referenced research by Professors Raj Chetty and David J. Deming from Harvard along with John N. Friedman, which highlighted that standardized tests play a vital role in identifying “promising students from less-privileged high schools, especially when combined with other academic credentials.”

Test Scores One Facet of the Application

Nonetheless, the university underlined that standardized test scores are just one part of the application process, and that the admission committee evaluates each application comprehensively prior to decisions.

“Test scores can offer significant insights into a student’s application,” stated William R. Fitzsimmons, the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. “Yet, they represent only one element among many that our admissions committee considers when evaluating the entire individual.”

Harvard, like many other educational institutions nationwide, had removed SAT and other standardized testing requirements in June 2020 due to pandemic-related testing limitations. While submission of scores remained optional for subsequent application cycles, the Class of 2028 was the fourth to accept applications without test scores.

“Throughout the admissions process, we aim to attract students from diverse backgrounds across the country and worldwide, encompassing various life experiences, to bring to Harvard a multitude of fresh perspectives, questions, and aspirations,” the Family highlighted.

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Ivy League Institutions Reintroducing SAT Requirements

In February of this year, Yale and Dartmouth both announced the reinstatement of standardized testing requirements for undergraduate applicants.

Dartmouth College stated that the “test-optional admission policy” introduced in June 2020 was never intended to become standard practice, but rather a temporary pause in light of prevailing circumstances. The university was the first among the Ivy League to make this move.

Both Yale and Dartmouth indicated that their decision to reinstate testing followed years of research and study, with Yale pointing to data suggesting that “test scores are the most significant predictor of a student’s future grades at Yale.”

Meanwhile, Brown declared in March its intention to restore standardized testing for the Class of 2029.

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