The Ivy Coach Daily

October 4, 2020

Caltech Leads Charge Against SAT and ACT

The California Institute of Technology is charting its own course with respect to testing requirements in admissions (photo credit:

Many highly selective college went test-optional this year, including all eight of the Ivy League institutions. With the pandemic forcing the closure of test centers around the world and with last-minute testing cancelations the new normal, these schools essentially had no choice but to not require SAT or ACT testing in the admissions process this year. But what about next year and the year after that? What about five years down the road? Will America’s highly selective colleges remain test-optional or will they go back to the way things were before? Are the SAT and ACT anachronisms of a bygone time?

Our Crystal Ball Predicts Elite Colleges Will Not Go Back to Old Testing Requirements

As loyal readers of our college admissions blog know all too well, we’ve got a crystal ball at Ivy Coach. Heck, our crystal ball has even been cited on the pages of America’s oldest college newspaper, The Dartmouth. And our crystal ball hereby forecasts that America’s highly selective colleges will not go back to how things were before the pandemic. We believe that many of these schools will remain test-optional in the years to come. But we’ve also been vocal on the pages of this college admissions blog that test-optional policies aren’t all that meaningful since — contrary to the words of the admissions offices at these schools — all else being equal, a student with great test scores will always win over a student with no test scores. Unless and until these schools don’t allow the submission of scores, test-optional means, well, bupkis.

Most Elite Colleges Have Test-Optional Policies That Mean Little, But Caltech’s Testing Policy is Meaningful

But there are certain highly selective colleges that are telling it like it is, that really are not considering certain test scores. Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology aren’t allowing students to submit SAT Subject Test scores this year. The California Institute of Technology has gone even a step further. As Nick Anderson reports for The Washington Post in a piece entitled “Beyond ’test-optional’: Some ’test-free’ colleges drop the SAT and ACT entirely,” “Caltech won’t even consider [the SAT or ACT]. in the selection of its next two entering classes. It is in the vanguard of a small but growing movement to eliminate the ACT and SAT from admission decisions. The immense educational disruptions of the novel coronavirus pandemic, especially shortages of seats at testing centers, have fueled the development…These schools are taking a more radical stance than the ’test-optional’ movement, which allows applicants to choose whether to send scores. Instead, these schools are declaring themselves ’test-blind’ or ’test-free.’”

Ivy Coach Salutes Trailblazing Caltech, MIT, Yale

These schools that aren’t allowing applicants to submit certain test scores are the only ones deserving of our salute. The rest — the ones that have gone test-optional with a wink, wink — are deserving of no praise for not requiring the submission of test scores. They had no choice in the matter…what else were they to do? But these trailblazing schools that are not permitting students to submit certain scores, like Caltech, well, we salute you and we suspect a few other highly selective universities across America will soon follow your lead. But will most highly selective colleges follow Caltech’s lead? No. Most, we suspect, will remain test-optional. And what does that mean? You know the drill. Bupkis.

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