Harvard and Caltech Reinstate Standardized Testing Requirements for Admission

Harvard To Reinstate The Requirement For Test Scores (Credits: The New York Times)

Harvard University has announced a reversal of its policy regarding standardized testing for admission, joining a trend among prestigious institutions to reinstate test score requirements.

Starting with the fall 2025 admissions cycle, prospective students will need to submit SAT or ACT scores, with limited exceptions for other standardized tests such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams in special cases.

Following closely on the heels of Harvard, Caltech, renowned for its focus on science and engineering, also declared the reinstatement of testing requirements for applicants seeking admission in fall 2025.

These moves signal a shift away from the widespread trend of test-optional admissions that emerged in response to pandemic-related challenges, including limited access to test sites.

Reversal of Test-Optional Policies Signals Shift in Admissions Trends among Prestigious Universities

Harvard, Left, And Caltech Both Announced Thursday They Would Return To Requiring Standardized Test Scores (Credits: Getty Images)

Advocates for standardized testing argue that these assessments serve as valuable predictors of academic success and can help identify talented students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds who may otherwise go unnoticed.

Harvard referenced a study by Opportunity Insights, emphasizing the predictive utility of test scores in evaluating college readiness and potential.

Hopi Hoekstra, the dean of Harvard’s faculty of arts and sciences, underscored the importance of standardized tests in providing essential information for admissions decisions, regardless of students’ backgrounds.

Elite Colleges Admissions (Credits: Unsplash)

Similarly, Caltech reaffirmed its commitment to utilizing all relevant data in its selection process, aligning with its ethos as a community of scientists and engineers.

The decision to require test scores reflects a broader trend among selective institutions, including Brown, Yale, Dartmouth, M.I.T., Georgetown, Purdue, and the University of Texas at Austin, to revert to traditional admissions criteria.

Harvard’s decision, in particular, comes at a time of institutional transition and heightened scrutiny, following recent developments such as legal challenges to race-conscious admissions and leadership changes within the university administration.

Hollis Hall And Stoughton Hall In Harvard Yard Are Two Of The Dorms Assigned To First-Year Students (Credits: Harvard)

While critics have voiced concerns about the potential for standardized tests to perpetuate inequality, Harvard emphasized its commitment to considering a diverse array of factors in admissions decisions, including applicants’ experiences, talents, and contributions to their communities.

As the scenario of college admissions continues to change, Harvard’s decision underscores the ongoing dialogue about equity, merit, and access in higher education.

Mousumi Routray is experienced content writer who helps businesses reach their audience through engaging content. She has written blog posts, articles, newsletters and more for companies in tech, entertainment and other industries.