Harvard Reinstates Standardised Tests for Undergraduates

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Recently, the USA-based Harvard University undertook a major decision. They have reintroduced standardised tests like SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) and ACT (American College Testing) for undergraduate studies.

While the standardised tests were announced as optional due to the Corona pandemic, now both these tests are announced as mandatory again.

The Background

In June 2020, due to limited access to standardised tests like the SAT and ACT because of Covid-19, Harvard made taking these tests optional for applicants. They initially planned to keep the test-optional policy for applicants entering until Fall 2026 which means the Class of 2030.

The Present Situation

Now, the undergraduate arm of the Ivy League school has decided that students who want to enter Harvard as freshmen in the fall of 2024 and apply this year will need to take standardised tests like the SAT or ACT.

However, one point to note is that while it is going to accept test results of SAT and ACT in exceptional circumstances, the university is ready to accept the result of other standardised tests.

Hopi Hoekstra, the dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said she believed that standardised tests are a way for students from all backgrounds to show their potential for college success. The idea is that these tests provide a standardised measure of academic ability, regardless of a student’s socioeconomic background or life experiences.

However, Hoekstra also clarifies that the standardised test score won’t be the only deciding factor for the admission process. The admissions officers will consider other aspects of an applicant’s profile such as their grades in high school.

The Harvard Crimson, a student-run newspaper, reported that there were a total of 54,008 applicants but only 1,937 students received acceptance letters this year.

It means out of every 100 applicants only about 4 got accepted.

However, according to the newspaper, this (approx. 4%) is the highest acceptance rate Harvard has had for the past four years. This suggests that admissions may have been slightly less competitive for this class.

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