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Cornell becomes latest Ivy League institution to reinstate SATs

Cornell University has joined its Ivy League peers in reinstating a requirement that applicants supply standardized test results.

The New York university announced the decision Monday in a statement that pointed out it’s waiting until 2026 to implement the mandate.

“Cornell will remain test-optional for students applying in the upcoming admissions cycle for enrollment in fall 2025, although these applicants are encouraged to submit SAT and/or ACT scores to the Cornell colleges and schools that are currently test-optional,” the announcement stated.

Yale, Brown, Dartmouth and Harvard have all announced over the last few months that they are reinstating standardized tests for admissions. Caltech and the University of Texas at Austin have also joined the trend. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology already reinstated the requirement in 2022.

“The schools had been among nearly 2,000 colleges across the country that dropped test score requirements over the last few years, a trend that escalated during the pandemic when it was harder for students to get to test sites,” the New York Times reported.

“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. But supporters of the tests have said without scores, it became harder to identify promising students who outperformed in their environments.”

At Cornell, the memo to the campus community pointed out:

Though standardized test scores are imperfect measures of a student’s aptitude and potential, the data suggests that when taken in context, these scores provide valuable insights into a student’s potential for academic success while at Cornell, and thereby help to ensure that admitted students are likely to thrive academically. After accounting for other predictors, including high school GPA, student demographics and high school characteristics, those who were admitted with test scores tended to have somewhat stronger GPAs and were more likely to remain in good academic standing.

Or as The College Fix recently reported: “Ivy League changes mind, SATs no longer racist.”

But not all colleges have given up on their test-optional policies just yet, including Columbia, Princeton and Stanford universities, the Washington Post reported.

“The patchwork of policies is wreaking havoc on applicants, parents and college admissions consultants nationwide, who are being forced to recalculate where and how they are willing to apply — or what to tell anxious teenagers about whether to test, retest or skip testing entirely — as decisions keep rolling out in real time,” the Post reported.

“…Colleges are still grappling with the fallout from the landmark Supreme Court ruling that ended the use of race-based affirmative action in admissions. Many are undertaking an array of experiments in response to the decision in a bid to maintain diverse admitted classes — ending legacy preferences in some cases, adding essay prompts on adversity or identity in others, or increasing outreach in low-income areas.”

MORE: Ivy League changes mind, SATs no longer racist

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.