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Harvard College Suspends Standardized Testing Requirement for Next Four Years

Harvard College announced Thursday that it will allow applicants through the Class of 2030 to apply to the school without submitting standardized test scores.
Harvard College announced Thursday that it will allow applicants through the Class of 2030 to apply to the school without submitting standardized test scores. By Lu Shao
By Vivi E. Lu, Crimson Staff Writer

Applicants to Harvard College will not be required to submit standardized test scores for at least the next four years.

The College announced Thursday that it would extend its pandemic-era test optionality policy, allowing applicants through the Class of 2030 to apply to the school without submitting SAT or ACT scores.

Harvard first lifted its testing requirement in June 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing the Class of 2025 to apply without submitting scores. Harvard then removed the requirement for the Class of 2026 in January, citing continued difficulties presented by the pandemic.

When the College announced that it would accept 7.9 percent of early action applicants as part of its Class of 2026, it stated it would extend the test-optional policy further.

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 said in the press release that students who do not submit an SAT or ACT score will not be disadvantaged in the admissions process.

“Their applications will be considered on the basis of what they have presented, and they are encouraged to send whatever materials they believe would convey their accomplishments in secondary school and their promise for the future,” Fitzsimmons said.

The move comes as a win for advocates who have been pushing universities to do away with testing requirements, arguing that they disadvantage applicants from low-income backgrounds.

Harvard cited pandemic-related complications in its announcement.

“Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its continued impact on access to testing for high school age students, Harvard College will allow students to apply for admission without requiring SAT or ACT scores for the upcoming admitted classes of ’27, ’28, ’29, and ’30,” the school wrote.

The College wrote that it will continue assessing applicants on factors other than standardized testing, including extracurricular activities, work experience, and familial obligations.

“​Consistent with Harvard’s whole-person admissions process, standardized tests are one factor among many considered,” the announcement read.

Columbia University and Cornell University have each suspended standardized testing requirements through the 2024 application cycle. The University of Chicago went test optional in 2018, prior to the pandemic.

—Staff writer Vivi E. Lu can be reached at vivi.lu@thecrimson.com.

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