Brown University has gone test-optional for the Class of 2025. Applicants to next year’s class will not be required to submit SAT or ACT scores. But, as our loyal readers know all too well, it has long been our assertion that test-optional policies aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. If a school still allows applicants to submit tests, it behooves applicants with top test scores to do so. And, yes, all else being equal, students with top test scores maintain an advantage over students who do not submit top test scores — irrespective of what the school’s admissions office may tell you to the contrary. Such language should be interpreted as nothing more than PR spin. And we are in a college admissions spin cycle!
Brown Goes Test-Optional for Class of 2025
As Brown’s undergraduate admissions office writes of the school’s test-optional move, “For first-year applicants in the 2020-21 admission cycle, Brown is now test optional. This change is for the 2020-21 academic year only. Students who are unable to submit SAT or ACT scores this year due to COVID-19 will not be disadvantaged in our admission process. If this describes your situation, please know that your application will receive full consideration by our admission committee. We will continue to review test scores that are submitted, and will also bear in mind that those who do submit scores may not have been able to take the SAT or ACT more than once…Testing requirements for transfer applicants in the 2020-21 admission cycle remain consistent as they are detailed here, and all students applying in the 2021-22 admission cycle or later should plan to submit an SAT or ACT score as part of the application process. Brown will continue to adhere to Ivy League policies regarding testing requirements for applicants who plan to participate in varsity athletics.”
Test-Optional Policies Are More PR Spin Than Anything Else
We invite our readers to read Brown’s language in its announcement once more. SAT and ACT scores will still be considered. The admissions office will “continue to review test scores that are submitted, and will also bear in mind that those who do not submit scores may not have been able to take the SAT or ACT more than once.” The unclear language of this announcement is reflective of our long-held argument: test-optional policies are more PR spin than anything else and if students have great test scores, they should absolutely still submit them!
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