Harvard defends return to old policy requiring SAT/ACT test scores for admission

Posted 43 days ago


After being one of many schools that dropped testing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard is making national headlines by reinstating them for new applicants in the next admissions cycle.

According to the Harvard Crimson, this return to the old standard will begin with the Class of 2029, "a surprise reversal that could leave some students scrambling to take SAT or ACT tests ahead of application deadlines in the fall."

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Hopi E. Hoekstra defended the policy shift in a statement, arguing standardized testing like the SAT or the ACT is the more meritocratic path.

"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," she said in a statement, according to The Harvard Gazette. "Indeed, when students have the option of not submitting their test scores, they may choose to withhold information that, when interpreted by the admissions committee in the context of the local norms of their school, 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."

There has been some debate over whether the use of standardized testing harms the chances of students of some racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Anemona Hartocollis and Stephanie Saul at The New York Times wrote, "Dropping test score requirements was widely viewed as a tool to help diversify admissions, by encouraging poor and underrepresented students who had potential but did not score well on the tests to apply."

They also reported that this policy shift for Harvard "comes at a time of transition, and perhaps a return to more conservative policies," recalling the resignation of Claudine Gay from her presidency at Harvard and the Supreme Court striking down race conscious affirmative action policy.... (Read more)