Harvard drops SAT, ACT requirement for 2021

Coronavirus

A general view of Harvard University campus is seen on April 22, 2020 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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Harvard announced this week that it will not require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores in 2021.

Admissions officers say the coronavirus pandemic has created a difficult learning and testing environment for high school students.

“We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has created insurmountable challenges in scheduling tests for all students, particularly those from modest economic backgrounds, and we believe this temporary change addresses these challenges,” the university said in a statement Monday.

Harvard says standardized tests are only one part of its “whole-person admissions process.”

“Accomplishments in and out of the classroom during the high school years – including community involvement, employment, and help given to students’ families are considered as part of our process,” the university said.

The decision comes amid growing criticism that the SAT and ACT standardized tests unfairly penalize students of color.

While Harvard’s decision is temporary, many colleges and universities are looking at making the policy permanent.

More than half of the nation’s four-year colleges and universities will no longer require standardized testing this fall, and many are considering admissions policies that wouldn’t require the SAT.

Supporters say getting rid of the standardized test requirement gives colleges more diverse and better-qualified applicants.

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