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Harvard Removes Standardized Testing Requirements for Class of 2025 Applicants

The Harvard College Office of Admissions and Financial Aid is located in Radcliffe Yard.
The Harvard College Office of Admissions and Financial Aid is located in Radcliffe Yard. By Kathryn S. Kuhar
By Benjamin L. Fu and Dohyun Kim, Crimson Staff Writers

Applicants to the College Class of 2025 will no longer need to submit any standardized test scores, according to a Monday note from Harvard’s admissions office.

The announcement amends guidance to Class of 2025 applicants in March informing them that there would not be a penalty for failing to submit Advanced Placement or SAT subject test scores.

Monday’s note cites the effect of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in explaining the decision to amend its standardized test policy. Although American standardized testing is no longer required, the update encourages international applicants to submit relevant national testing results from their home country.

“We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has created insurmountable challenges in scheduling tests for all students, particularly those from modest economic backgrounds, and we believe this temporary change addresses these challenges,” the guidance reads.

The policy change follows other schools’ decisions to suspend standardized test requirements for applicants to the Class of 2025. All other Ivy League schools except for Princeton have amended their testing requirements to become test-optional for the 2020-2021 application cycle. Princeton still requires SAT or ACT scores, but emphasized in a letter to Class of 2025 applicants that SAT subject tests are only recommended.

The ACT and College Board previously canceled and postponed testing dates throughout April and June due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The note also addresses the possibility of an extension in the regular action cycle application deadline.

“While our regular action deadline will remain January 1 for now, we will monitor the effects of COVID-19 in the coming months and will extend our deadline if necessary,” the note states.

Harvard’s early action date will remain November 1. The note emphasizes that the College expects fewer early applicants and that, as in prior years, early applicants have no advantage in admissions.

For both the early and regular action deadline, the College will accept test scores that arrive after the usual deadline, from the November and February test dates, respectively.

Harvard’s statement also covered how potential disruption caused by the pandemic would change admissions reviews.

“Accomplishments in and out of the classroom during the high school years – including community involvement, employment, and help given to students’ families are considered as part of our process,” the note reads. “However, students who find themselves limited in the activities they can pursue due to the current coronavirus outbreak will not be disadvantaged as a result, nor will students who are only able to present pass/fail grades or other similar marks on their transcripts this spring.”

Finally, the announcement emphasized the College’s commitment to maintaining the current financial aid program.

“As was the case during the economic downturn a decade ago and in similar situations before, our revolutionary financial aid program will not be compromised in any way,” the note states.

—Staff writer Benjamin L. Fu can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @BenFu_2.

—Staff writer Dohyun Kim can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @dohyunkim__

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