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Yale reinstitutes standardized test requirement, says test-optional policies hurt some students

Yale is now instituting what it calls a "Text-Flexible Policy" that will allow applicants to choose between four different tests to submit scores.

Published: February 22, 2024 8:16am

Yale University said Thursday it will reinstitute its standardized test requirement for first-year applicants for fall 2025 admission and later, saying that their test-optional policy instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic can put students from "low-income, first-generation and rural backgrounds" at a disadvantage. 

Yale is now instituting what it calls a "Text-Flexible Policy" that will allow applicants to choose between four different tests to submit scores from: the SAT, the ACT, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams, the latter two of which are subject-based. 

Yale said its experience both requiring tests and making them optional has taught it that "tests can help increase rather than decrease diversity in our class," "a narrow focus on only the ACT and SAT can discourage promising students from considering colleges like Yale," and "inviting students to apply without any test scores can, inadvertently, disadvantage students from low-income, first-generation, and rural backgrounds."

Students from well-resourced high schools are able to easily find advanced courses and teachers who are accustomed to writing letters of recommendation with lavish praise, Yale states. Other students, however, may find that their schools do not offer enough advanced classes and their teachers write positive but generic letters of recommendation. Even if these students have amazing leadership records but they do not have test scores to supplement their academic preparedness, they may not be able to demonstrate they are ready for Yale.

"Yale’s research from before and after the pandemic has consistently demonstrated that, among all application components, test scores are the single greatest predictor of a student’s future Yale grades," the university said. 

Yale is the latest top-tier school to require test scores for admission. Dartmouth College said earlier this month it would reinstitute standardized test mandates, per The New York Times. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology reinstituted its ACT/SAT requirement in March 2022.

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