News: Dartmouth Reinstates SAT/ACT Requirement

News: Dartmouth Reinstates SAT/ACT Requirement

News: Dartmouth Reinstates SAT/ACT Requirement

February 14, 2024: Last week, Dartmouth University reinstated their SAT requirement for college admissions.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Dartmouth, like many colleges and universities, decided to go “test-optional”. This meant students did not have to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of their admissions package.

The decision has been met with mixed emotions. Some believe that reinstating the SAT requirement is good, while others think it is a poor choice on part of Dartmouth’s admissions counsel.

But why did Dartmouth reinstate this requirement?

Why did Dartmouth go “test-optional” in the first place?

In the early days of the Covid-19 shutdown, many students only had access to asynchronous learning experiences, making it difficult for them to get the academic and exam prep necessary to do well on standardized tests. Not only that, but students could not congregate in large groups to take the exams. This meant that the platforms that host the SAT and ACT needed to pivot to a new type of test administration.

Going “test-optional” also gave schools, like Dartmouth, the opportunity to see what would happen to their applicant pool if students were no longer required to submit standardized test scores. For years, many people have argued that the SAT and ACT favor wealthier students, who have access to better schools and better test prep opportunities.

What did schools, like Dartmouth, learn after going “test-optional”?

“Test-optional” made it hard to find the best students in larger applicant pools.

With schools and universities going “test-optional”, many students applied to schools with tougher admissions requirements. No longer were they hamstrung by the average test scores of the Ivy Leagues. This means students who identified as “poor test-takers” had an opportunity to apply to places they wouldn’t have applied to if there had been a testing requirement.

The major increase in the applicant pool severely impacted college admissions. The percentage of students accepted decreased substantially while the number of students applying increased tenfold. And for college admissions officers, it was difficult to find the best applicants among students with high GPAs, extracurriculars, and other experiences that make for impressive academic resumes.

The SAT and ACT actually made it MORE possible to attract a diverse applicant pool.

As we said before, many people have shamed the SAT and ACT for being exclusive tests that favor wealthier students. However, in the four years since schools have gone “test-optional”, Dartmouth found that SAT and ACT scores made it possible for admissions counselors to identify talented students from diverse backgrounds.

Is Dartmouth the only school to go back to requiring SAT or ACT scores?

No, actually, Dartmouth is following in the footsteps of Georgetown University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who have also reinstated this requirement.

Currently, Harvard, Yale, and Duke are still “test-optional”.

*Since this blog was written, Yale has reinstated their policy to require test scores as part of the application process.*

When will this reinstatement take place?

Dartmouth will reinstate their standardized test requirement in 2025.

U.S. citizens applying to Dartmouth will be able to submit SAT or ACT scores. Students outside of the U.S. will be required to submit results from an “equivalent standardized national exam,” as outlined by their admissions counsel.

What does this mean for you?

While there are still some colleges and universities who are “test-optional”, it is uncertain as to whether or not they will remain “test-optional” forever.

It’s in your best interest, then, to begin to consider your options.

If you are getting started on your college admissions journey and wish to speak with someone who can guide you through the process, MEK has the answers.

Give us a call at +1 (855) 346-1410 or contact us here. We can help you decide whether the Digital SAT or ACT is right for you, find your current score on either test, and set you up with a test prep plan for success. We look forward to hearing from you!

Robyn Neilsen

Robyn Neilsen is a Content Writer for MEK Review. She was a dedicated English teacher in the New Jersey public school system for 13 years and is passionate about sharing resources, content, and tips for students and parents.


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