Penn extends test-optional policy to 2022-2023 admissions cycle

Penn will continue to be test-optional for the 2022-2023 admissions cycle, due to the “broad” and “unevenly distributed” impacts of the pandemic.

Applicants for the 2022-2023 cycle will still have the option to submit an SAT or ACT score as a part of their college application, but those who choose not to will not be at a disadvantage in the admissions process, Penn Admissions wrote on its admissions blog.

Penn first implemented the test-optional policy for the 2020-2021 admission cycle after the College Board and ACT testing agencies canceled several testing dates due to COVID-19. It was extended for the 2021-2022 cycle due to further COVID-19-related testing disruptions.

Penn will still require international students to demonstrate English-language proficiency if they attended schools where English is not the native language of instruction or if English is not their native language. To demonstrate English proficiency, they will be required to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test.

In the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, Penn received a 34% increase in applications from the admissions cycle before, resulting in the lowest admissions rate in Penn history with a 5.68% acceptance rate.

One of the factors that could have played a part in this spike was the test-optional policy, Associate Director of Admissions Sara Cohen said.

Although Penn still uses a comprehensive review process in evaluating candidates, several college counseling specialists were concerned when the policy was first implemented, saying that students applying with test scores could have an advantage with another qualification next to their name.

“If one kid has great test scores and one kid has no test scores, all else being equal, the kid with great test scores will win every time over the kid with no test scores,” Managing Director of Ivy Coach Brian Taylor told The Daily Pennsylvanian in October 2020.

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