Stanford admission: SAT or ACT to be required again

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Stanford University will reinstate the SAT or ACT as a requirement for undergraduate admission, joining a rush by other selective schools to bring back standardized testing after a pause during the pandemic. 

The new policy will cover students applying in the fall of next year for admission to the class of 2030, Stanford said in a statement Friday, citing an interval review that found the tests are “an important predictor of academic performance.” Testing will remain optional for students applying this year.

Stanford is joining a return to standardized testing at schools including Harvard University, Yale University and the California Institute of Technology amid a shifting admissions landscape for top students. Many of the schools have argued that the tests can provide them with greater context about whether less-privileged applicants are likely to succeed in college. 

“The renewed testing requirement will allow Stanford to consider the fullest array of information in support of each student’s application,” the Palo Alto, California-based school said. 

Stanford said it’s delaying the testing requirement until the fall of 2025 to give prospective applicants time to prepare. 

Testing opponents have long argued that the requirement favors wealthier students who can afford tutoring and preparation courses. Prestigious colleges started to bypass testing when it became impractical at the height of the pandemic as test centers closed. 

Since then, however, some of the most elite US schools have grown concerned that not using tests made it harder to identify talented students from less privileged backgrounds. Colleges have also been rethinking their application processes after the Supreme Court ruled last year that schools can’t consider race in admissions.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology restored test requirements two years ago. 

Stanford is among the most selective US colleges, admitting 3.9% of the applicants for the class of 2027, according to university data. Its acceptance rate was lower than all Ivy League schools except Harvard, which had a 3.4% rate for the same cohort.

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