Harvard To Once Again Require SATs For Admissions

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Apr 13, 2024 - 02:40 AM

Harvard is joining the ranks of other universities in recognizing the obvious: SATs are a great way to measure aptitude. And now that Harvard is busy grappling with other issues like plagiarism among its top ranks, it has decided to quietly shuffle SAT requirements back to where they were pre-Covid. 

Harvard will reintroduce standardized testing requirements for admissions starting with the Class of 2029, deviating from its prior commitment to remain test-optional through the Class of 2030.

This change, prompted by criticism as peers like Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown resumed mandatory testing, will affect applicants for fall and winter 2024, who must submit SAT or ACT scores unless exceptions apply. In specific cases where students can't access these tests, Harvard will accept scores from Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams instead, according to the Harvard Crimson.

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Hopi E. Hoekstra said:  “...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. More information, especially such strongly predictive information, is valuable for identifying talent from across the socioeconomic range. With this change, we hope to strengthen our ability to identify these promising students.”

Uh, yeah. That's why it was a requirement to begin with. But we digress...

The Crimson wrote that despite a majority of undergraduates submitting standardized test scores over the past four years, the exact figure has not been disclosed.

Recently, Harvard officials, including Dean of Admissions William R. Fitzsimmons, were non-committal about reinstating testing requirements, noting ongoing policy reviews. However, a study from the Harvard-affiliated Opportunity Insights indicated that SAT scores are a better predictor of college success than high school GPA. Experts also suggest that requiring standardized tests could enhance racial and socioeconomic diversity at universities like Harvard.

Harvard economist David J. Deming commented that test scores provide the “fairest admissions policy for disadvantaged applicants.”

“Not everyone can hire an expensive college coach to help them craft a personal essay. But everyone has the chance to ace the SAT or the ACT,” he continued.

Recall, we wrote just days ago that $500 tutors were back en vogue now that SATs were being reinstated. It was earlier this year when we noted that SATs were once again being reconsidered by colleges who had reduced or eliminated their requirement due to (pick one: diversity, racism, climate change, equity, gender affirmation). 

As a result of the comeback, Bloomberg noted that tutors, sometimes costing $500 per hour, are all of a sudden back in vogue. They wrote that demand for SAT tutoring and prep centers is surging as several top colleges reintroduce mandatory SATs, and students adapt to the SAT's new digital format.

Kaplan reported a significant enrollment increase, attributed to digital testing and the reinstatement of testing requirements by institutions and three Ivy League schools—Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown—have reinstated mandatory SATs, alongside MIT and the University of Texas at Austin. This shift has left many students scrambling for preparation before early application deadlines.

Companies like The Princeton Review have also seen a spike in interest for prep services.

We noted earlier this year in a piece from American Greatness, that according to Axios, multiple colleges used the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to weaken the importance of SAT and ACT test scores in most student applications. But in recent weeks, several schools have reversed course; Yale is considering repealing its prior policy of making SAT/ACT requirements optional, with Dartmouth already reinstating the requirements earlier this month. MIT reversed a similar policy back in 2022.