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Updated Standardized Testing Policies Due To COVID-19

Stephen Friedfeld, Ph.D.

There have been many developments over the past three months regarding standardized testing at America's top colleges and universities due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Below, find a list of updated policies, put together by our team of insider experts.

●      College of William and Mary: standardized test scores optional for undergraduate applicants in the 2020-2021 admission cycle under a new three-year pilot program.

●      Columbia University: Columbia is adopting a one year test-optional policy for first-year applicants to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering for the fall of 2021.

●      Dartmouth College: Students applying to Dartmouth College next year won’t have to take a standardized test, such as the SAT, to be considered for admission.

●      University of Pennsylvania: With this in mind, Penn Admissions will not require the SAT or ACT for the 2020-21 first-year and transfer admissions cycles.

●      California Institute of Technology: Caltech has enacted a two-year moratorium on both the requirement and consideration of SAT and ACT test scores as part of the undergraduate admissions process.

●      Johns Hopkins University: Because testing availability and access will be severely limited this year, Johns Hopkins is adopting a 1-year test-optional policy for the Class of 2025 (students applying for entry in the fall of 2021).

●      Carnegie Mellon University: For those applying to join the Fall 2021 first-year class and beyond, SAT Subject Tests are neither required nor recommended, and these scores won’t be considered in our admission review process.

●      Cornell University: Due to this extraordinary circumstance, students seeking to enroll at Cornell University beginning in August 2021 can submit their applications without including the results from ACT or SAT exams. This will be true for both the Early Decision and Regular Decision rounds of review.

●      Boston University: Boston University is proud to announce that we will be test optional for first-year applicants applying for fall 2021 and spring 2022.

●      Tufts University: Tufts University is introducing a test-optional admissions policy for all undergraduate applicants for a 3-year period, beginning with applicants who apply for the Fall 2021 semester. Starting with our next admissions cycle, first-year and transfer applicants have a choice about whether or not to submit SAT or ACT scores to be considered for undergraduate admission to Tufts University.

●      Davidson College: Beginning today, Davidson College’s admission process will be test-optional, giving students the option of including your scores from the SAT or ACT, if you choose.

●      Case Western Reserve University: In response to standardized test cancellations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Case Western Reserve University adopted a “test-optional” admissions policy for students entering in the fall of 2021.

●      Amherst College: Given limitations on opportunities for SAT and ACT testing, Amherst will suspend for one year its requirement that all students applying for first-year admission submit SAT or ACT scores.

●      Rutgers University: Due to the uncertainty of future test dates and availability of standardized tests, Rutgers will make submission of SAT and ACT test scores optional for students applying for spring or fall 2021 admission.

●      George Washington University: The George Washington University's (GW) test-optional policy went into effect on August 1, 2015, so if you are applying for first-year or transfer admission you are not required to submit standardized test scores, except in select circumstances.

●      Tulane University: Submitting test scores for the SAT or ACT will be an optional, not required, part of the admission process for students applying this fall for a spot in Tulane University’s 2021 entering class.

●      University of Virginia: Given the uncertain prospect of universally accessible, reliable and equitable SAT/ACT testing in the next admission year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Virginia will not require that applicants submit standardized testing to be considered for admission for at least the next application cycle.

●      University of Washington: The University of Washington has removed the requirement of standardized test scores, such as the SAT and ACT, for incoming undergraduate students beyond the fall of 2021.

●      University of California System: The University of California Board of Regents unanimously approved the suspension of the standardized test requirement (ACT/SAT) for all California freshman applicants until fall 2024. The suspension will allow the University to create a new test that better aligns with the content the University expects students to have mastered for college readiness. However, if a new test does not meet specified criteria in time for fall 2025 admission, UC will eliminate the standardized testing requirement for California students.

●      Yale University: In response to the widespread disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions will temporarily suspend its requirement that first-year applicants submit results from the ACT or SAT.

●      Washington University in St. Louis: WashU will provide all applicants for the class entering in Fall 2021 the option of whether to submit standardized test scores when they apply.

●      Brown University: For first-year applicants in the 2020-21 admission cycle, Brown is now test optional. This change is for the 2020-21 academic year only.

●      Boston College: Due to ongoing concerns about future test dates and the availability of test centers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Boston College will be test optional for first-year applicants during the 2020-21 admission cycle.

●      Harvard College: Harvard College will allow students to apply for admission to the Class of 2025 without requiring standardized test scores.

●      Rice University: Rice’s Office of Undergraduate Admission has removed the standardized testing requirements for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle due to disruptions caused by the pandemic.

●      Lehigh University: The SAT and ACT will be optional for first-year and transfer applicants for the Fall 2021 semester.

●      Georgetown University: Georgetown values the information provided by standardized testing and will continue to consider test scores as part of our holistic admissions review process. However, we understand that some students may be prevented from taking either the SAT or ACT due to challenges brought about by COVID-19. For this reason, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will be flexible and fully consider applications from students who encounter difficulties completing standardized tests due to the pandemic.

●      Stanford University: For this year only, Stanford will review applications with or without standardized test scores, leaving the decision in the hands of the applicant.

●      Duke University: Duke will be test-optional for students applying to the first-year undergraduate class during the 2020-21 admissions cycle

●      Princeton University: Princeton will pause its standardized testing requirement as part of its holistic review process for the 2020-21 application cycle.

●      Northwestern University: Students applying for the 2025 class at Northwestern University will not be required to submit an SAT or ACT score.

●      University of Texas - Austin: High school students who apply to The University of Texas at Austin for fall 2021 undergraduate admission will not be required to submit an ACT or SAT test score as part of their application.

●      University of Toronto: Test optional assessment has been adopted for students applying for Fall 2021 admission.

●      Emory University: Emory University will not require standardized tests for first-year applicants for the 2020-2021 academic year.

●      Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Applicants in the 2020–2021 undergraduate admissions cycle will not be required to submit SAT or ACT scores.

(Stephen has 10+ years of admissions experience at Cornell University and Princeton University. He is a founder at AcceptU, an admissions counseling group comprised entirely of former admissions officers from highly selective colleges and universities. For questions or to learn more about AcceptU, contact Stephen (stephen@acceptu.com, 617-424-0700) or visit www.AcceptU.com. )

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