Columbia University says it will no longer require prospective undergraduate students to take the SAT or ACT tests in order to be considered for admission. Like other Ivy League institutions, the New York school implemented the policy to suspend the testing requirements during the height of the pandemic. But unlike the others, Columbia is believed to be the first to adopt the policy permanently. >> Full story from NBC New York
- The basics: What is “test optional”? (from The College Board, which owns and administers the SAT)
- Go deeper: Inside the vast national experiment in test-optional college admissions (NBC News)
- Know before you apply: How Important Are SAT, ACT Scores in College Admissions? (U.S. News and World Report)
- For reference: A complete list of 900+ test optional colleges and universities from PrepScholar
Angie: Getting into an Ivy League school requires top grades, extracurricular achievement, and lots of hard work. But at Columbia University in New York City, the one thing you won’t need soon are good SAT scores… or, any SAT scores.
That’s because Columbia is officially becoming “test optional,” meaning it’s dropping the requirement that prospective students take standardized tests as part of the undergraduate admissions process.
The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a three-hour test with three sections — reading, writing and language, and math — that schools can use to weigh a college application. Columbia says it instead plans to weigh each applicant’s unique journey, including “the rigor of a student’s curriculum, their academic achievement, and their demonstrated intellectual curiosity”…
They say students who don’t submit SAT or ACT scores won’t be at a disadvantage.
Columbia is the first Ivy League school to officially get rid of this requirement. Several other colleges though, including Harvard, Princeton, and NYU, temporarily dropped standardized test requirements during the pandemic, when it became difficult for students to schedule them.
Over 1,800 universities still have temporary “test optional” practices in place.
Some critics have long argued against standardized tests, believing they are racially biased in favor of white and Asian-American students. Others believe the tests are also slanted towards affluent students, who can better afford private coaching and expensive test prep.
And, studies have shown that high school grades alone are a better indication of a student’s likelihood to graduate and future college performance.