Harvard Will Not Require SAT, ACT Scores for Applicants This Year

On the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. (Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters)

Harvard University will temporarily waive its requirement that applicants submit their SAT or ACT standardized test scores due to “insurmountable challenges in scheduling tests” related to the coronavirus pandemic, the Ivy League school announced Tuesday.

“In the face of unprecedented uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the coronavirus and the economy, we want to be helpful in any way we can,” Harvard said in a statement announcing the decision that was posted on its website. “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.”

Admission deadlines will remain the same, although the school said it expects fewer applicants to apply by November 1, the early action deadline. Harvard’s acceptance rate for the upcoming school year was 4.9 percent, with 1,980 students accepted out of the 40,248 who applied for admission.

The school added that its financial aid program “will not be compromised in any way” despite the economic fallout from the pandemic.

The College Board, which administers the SAT, said this month it would not offer an option to take the test at home.

Harvard’s decision leaves Princeton University as the only Ivy League school that has not waived its usual requirement that applicants submit standardized test scores in order to be considered for admission. Cornell University became the first in the prestigious group to drop the requirement, and the other schools, Yale University, Columbia University, Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, and Dartmouth College, soon followed.

“We will continue to review our test policies as more information about the exam schedule becomes available,” reads a letter to the class of 2025 posted on Princeton’s website.

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