Harvard University becomes latest Ivy League to reinstate SAT, ACT for admissions

Harvard University becomes latest Ivy League to reinstate SAT, ACT for admissions

Harvard University Standardized Testing Requirement Announcement

Harvard University Reinstates Standardized Testing Requirement

Following the footsteps of its Ivy League peers, including Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown, Harvard University announced that it is reinstating its standardized testing requirement in admissions beginning with the Class of 2029.

"Students applying to Harvard College for fall 2025 admission will be required to submit standardized test scores," Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences announced Thursday. "This new policy will be applied to the Class of 2029 admissions cycle and will be formally assessed at regular intervals."

Harvard had initially said the test-optional policy would remain in effect until applications for the Class of 2030, according to The Harvard Crimson.

The university said that while it will accept the SAT or ACT "to meet the standardized test requirement," other eligible tests will be accepted "in exceptional cases in which those tests are not accessible."

Decision based on a number of factors

Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Hopi Hoekstra, in a statement Thursday, said that the decision to reinforce testing after a gap of almost four years was based on a "a number of factors."

"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," Hoekstra said in a statement.

The dean said that when students have the option of not submitting their test scores, it is possible that they withhold the information, which "could have potentially helped their application."

"In short, more information, especially such strongly predictive information, is valuable for identifying talent from across the socioeconomic range," Hoekstra said.

Like other Ivy League schools, Harvard also cited research by Harvard Professors Raj Chetty and David J. Deming and co-author John N. Friedman published last year, that stated that standardized tests are an important tool in identifying "promising students at less-well-resourced high schools, particularly when paired with other academic credentials."

Test scores only one aspect of the application

However, the university emphasized that standardized test scores are just one aspect of the application, and that the admission committee carefully considers each application as a whole before making a decision.

“Test scores can provide important information about a student’s application,” William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid said in a statement. “However, they represent only one factor among many as our admissions committee considers the whole person in making its decisions."

Harvard, like other schools across the country, had dropped the SAT and other standardized testing requirements in June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic that had limited access to testing. Submission of scores remained optional for subsequent application cycles, with the Class of 2028 being the fourth for which students were able to apply without submitting test scores.

"Through the admissions process, we seek to recruit students from all parts of our nation and across the world, from many walks of life, to bring with them to Harvard a universe of new questions, perspectives, and hopes for the future," Hoekstra said.

Ivy League schools requiring SATs

In February earlier this year, Yale and Dartmouth both announced their decision to reinstate the standardized testing requirement for undergraduate applicants.

Dartmouth College in a statement said that the “test-optional admission policy” implemented in June 2020 was never meant to become standard practice, but rather a “short-term” pause in light of current events. The university was the first Ivy League institution to make this move.

Both Yale and Dartmouth had said that their decision to reinstate testing had come after several years of research and study, with Yale pointing to data suggesting “test scores are the single greatest predictor of a student’s future Yale grades.”

Brown, meanwhile, announced in March its decision to reinstate standardized testing for the Class of 2029.

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