Columbia is now the first Ivy League school to drop the SAT/ACT tests as a requirements for admissions
· Mar 3, 2023 ·

I think we can all agree that there are major problems with the university system in the United States. But I find it hard to believe that one of the problems is that we aren't letting enough people into university.

Having high standards for the caliber of students allowed into school is still a good thing.

But the fine folks at Columbia disagree.

Yes, the real problem is that we have any standards at all!

Columbia University will no longer require undergraduate applicants to submit their SAT or ACT standardized test scores, becoming the first Ivy League school to permanently go test-optional.

Columbia's Undergraduate Admissions announced Wednesday that it would join a growing number of higher-education institutions that have also stopped requiring test scores when considering applicants.

"Our review is purposeful and nuanced — respecting varied backgrounds, voices and experiences — in order to best determine an applicant's suitability for admission and ability to thrive in our curriculum and our community, and to advance access to our educational opportunities," the announcement said.

In other words, there are certain diversity and equity goals Columbia wants to meet, so they're going to drop these SAT/ACT standards.

The decision was "rooted in the belief that students are dynamic, multi-faceted individuals who cannot be defined by any single factor," the university said.

Columbia said in Wednesday's announcement that its approach to applicants stresses a "holistic and contextual application review process," and considers numerous factors.

"We have designed our application to afford the greatest possible opportunity and flexibility for students to represent themselves fully and showcase their academic talents, interests and goals," the announcement said.

I agree that test scores shouldn't be THE determining factor. But shouldn't they be A factor?

Do they really not tell us anything?

Other Ivy League schools have extended their pandemic-era test-optional policies, but none have made the initiative permanent.

The University of Pennsylvania expanded its test-optional policy through the 2023-2024 admissions cycle, while Cornell has extended the program through 2024-2025, The Spectator reported. Harvard and Princeton have continued theirs through the 2025-2026 school year, while Dartmouth, Brown and Yale have yet to make a decision.

Last year, just 3.7% of over 60,000 applications were accepted to the institution in Morningside Heights, according to admission statistics.

The number of students of color increased by 4% from the previous year, and the number of first-generation students increased by 3%.

The new standard: Sacrifice academic standards and embrace diversity instead.

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