SAT and ACT examinations are regarded as one of the most crucial examinations in the USA for high schoolers to get admission into the college of their choice. However, in a recent shift of policies, Columbia University has now made SAT and ACT optional for the admission process.
The measures are reportedly being taken to make the process more transparent for the applicants. This will also give the students more clarity on the admissions. Furthermore, this makes Columbia University the first Ivy League School to make these tests optional. At the same time, this becomes a huge decision especially as SATs and ACTs were considered as the most important to get into the premiere university.
Standardized tests became crucial during the COVID-19 Pandemic, due to the haywire schooling of the kids. However, as soon as schools reopened, many colleges like the university of California too announced the abandonment of these tests. However, this certainly does not mean that all the Universities of the country will abandon the test, so as high schoolers, you must buckle up, and go through some SAT websites and ACT books to score high!
Further, we will be elaborating on the current requirements for students, and also what the directors have to say about the decision being made.
“It’s a barrier to entry for people who might be very bright”: Reasons and admission criteria explored after Columbia makes SAT & ACT optional
Just like a few colleges that are okay with not taking your AP credits, Columbia University has also made the decision to permanently eliminate the requirement of standardized test scores for undergraduate admissions, starting with the class of 2025. The university has become the latest in a growing number of colleges and universities in the United States to make the move away from the use of the SAT and ACT exams as a factor in admissions decisions.
This decision comes after a year-long pilot program where the university made test scores optional for applicants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pilot program resulted in a more diverse and academically talented applicant pool, which prompted the university to permanently eliminate the testing requirement.
The university has recognized that standardized tests are not always an accurate measure of academic ability and potential and that they can often be biased against underrepresented groups. Talking about the same, Harry Feder, the Executive Director of Fairtest, an organization that is against standardized tests, said:
“Because of the preparation that people do and the courses that they pay for, it’s a barrier to entry for people who might be very bright.”
Furthermore, calling the system of the tests “discriminatory,” Columbia has also talked about submitting the test results if the kids wish to. In a statement, the Ivy League college said:
“We will continue to evaluate all submitted information within an individualized application review process that considers the unique combination of circumstances shaping each applicant’s journey. The rigor of a student’s curriculum, their academic achievement, and their demonstrated intellectual curiosity will remain central to our review.”
Furthermore, the representatives of the school also talked about how 39% of people enrolled in the school, did not provide the result for their SAT or ACT. Furthermore, the school will now focus more on selecting the kids based on their GPAs. Additionally, all of this happened after many Ivy League colleges decided to drop out of the standardized test requirement during the pandemic. However, Colombia becomes the first one to take permanent measures.
Lastly, talking about other Ivy League colleges, Harvard and Princeton have already made the tests optional, but since the policy is effective till 2026, they cannot take any further measures on the same. On the other hand, other premium colleges like Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth also have no such testing requirements, however, clarity about the SATs and ACTs is yet to come from other Ivy League colleges.
Furthermore, Columbia is yet to bring more clarity to the subject of how the admission process would be from 2025. However, the college has stated that if the students submit results from multiple tests, they will be evaluated on the highest score received by them on any one test.
Having a 10+ years of experience in teaching little budding learners, I am now working as a soft skills and IELTS trainers. Having spent my share of time with high schoolers, I understand their fears about the future. At the same time, my experience has helped me foster plenty of strategies that can make their 4 years of high school blissful. Furthermore, I have worked intensely on helping these young adults bloom into successful adults by training them for their dream colleges. Through my blogs, I intend to help parents, educators and students in making these years joyful and prosperous.