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Harvard University to Reinstate SAT/ACT as a Part of Its Admissions Process

Harvard Requiring SAT Again

Harvard University has decided to reinstate the SAT and ACT as a component of its admissions process. This decision follows a similar announcement by Dartmouth in February and reflects the value standardized tests offer in predicting academic success at the collegiate level.

While there’s ongoing debate about the role of standardized testing in college admissions, substantial evidence suggests that scores on tests like the SAT and ACT correlate positively with a student’s ability to perform well in rigorous university environments. Let’s delve into a few reasons why:

  • Objective Measure of Academic Competency: Standardized tests offer a consistent and objective metric that compares students from various backgrounds, schools, and regions. This allows universities to evaluate core academic skills necessary for success in demanding college coursework.
  • Predictor of College GPA: Studies have shown a consistent link between SAT/ACT scores and a student’s first-year college GPA. This suggests these tests provide a valuable predictive tool for colleges assessing an applicant’s likely performance.
  • Supplementing the Holistic Review: While a well-rounded application goes beyond test scores, standardized tests offer a data point that can complement subjective factors like essays and recommendations, providing a more balanced assessment of an applicant’s potential.
  • Leveling the Playing Field: Standardized tests offer students from different backgrounds with varying opportunities to demonstrate their academic aptitude. This can promote merit-based selection for a diverse student body.

While standardized tests aren’t perfect predictors of success in college, they are the ones that are solely merit-based and can be applied fairly to entire nation where classes and grading systems vary wildly. The tests will be considered as part of the holistic picture of a Harvard applicant, which includes extracurricular activities, essays, and teacher recommendations.

Ultimately, Harvard’s decision highlights the enduring value of standardized tests. While debate will continue, these tests help universities identify students with the potential for academic excellence. We have many ways to help students prepare for the SAT, including in-person classes, online classes, tutoring, on-demand courses, and SAT books.


Featured Image: Joseph Williams, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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