Harvard Reinstates Standardized Test Score Requirement

Harvard has announced the reinstatement of standardized test requirements, aligning with recent decisions made by several Ivy League institutions, such as Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown. 

Students aiming to apply for the class of 2029 during the fall and winter of 2024 will need to submit SAT or ACT scores. In cases where taking these tests is not feasible, applicants may opt to provide AP or IB test scores instead.

Harvard's decision to reverse its policy comes as a surprise to many as Harvard had previously affirmed that the Test Optional policy would remain in place for an additional two years until the class of 2030, corresponding to the application season of 2025-2026.

As recently as the end of March, William R. Fitzsimmons, director of admissions at Harvard University, said that there were no new changes to the Harvard test optional. 

The main focus of the doubts is that the admission results of the class of 2028 were just announced, and just two weeks later, without any warning, the Test Optional was suddenly cancelled, and the standardized test requirements were restored for the next class that was about to start applications.

Applicants of this class will have 6 more opportunities to take the ACT and SAT exams before the application deadline on January 1, 2025. There will be even fewer exam opportunities before the early application deadline of November 1, 2024.

SAT Test Dates

May 9, 2024
May 4, 2024
June 1, 2024
(Anticipated 2024–25 Test Dates:)
August 24, 2024
October 5, 2024

ACT Test Dates

April 13, 2024
June 8, 2024
July 13, 2024
September 14, 2024
October 26, 2024

The major policy change, like that of other schools, is based on research published last year by several Ivy League experts. Some of its main conclusions include:

SAT scores have proven to be a more reliable indicator of college success than high school GPA. 

SAT scores are a particularly strong predictor of college success much more so than a student's high school grade point average.

Requiring standardized test scores again might help universities like Harvard raise socioeconomic and racial diversity in its student body.

“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,” said Hopi Hoekstra, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences. “More information, especially such strongly predictive information, is valuable for identifying talent from across the socioeconomic range.”

Deming, a finalist to serve as dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, expressed in a statement that mandating standardized scores represents the most equitable admissions approach for underprivileged applicants.

"Not everyone can pay someone to help them write their application essays, but everyone has the opportunity to ace the SAT or ACT." 

On the same day, Caltech also announced the reinstatement of standardized testing. Please pay attention to subsequent articles for details.

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7EDU Impact Academy 12 April, 2024
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