Dartmouth Drops SAT and ACT for Class of 2025

Applicants to Dartmouth College’s Class of 2025 will not be required to submit SAT or ACT scores.

They are dropping like flies. Dartmouth College has scrapped the SAT / ACT requirement for applicants to its Class of 2025. In fact, Dartmouth has gone ahead and scrapped all testing requirements for applicants to its Class of 2025. Under the school’s new policy, students can submit SAT or ACT scores. They can submit SAT Subject Test scores. They can submit AP scores. But they won’t be required to submit any of these scores. Testing? Who needs it!

Dartmouth Dean Insists ‘Optional’ Is Not a Trick Word

As Dartmouth’s Dean of Admissions Lee Coffin writes in a blog post on the Dartmouth Admissions site, “‘Optional’ is not a trick word. It is not a wink that signals a continued institutional preference for the upcoming admissions cycle. This is not a moment for euphemisms or gimmicks; there should be no parsing of intent with this amended testing policy. It is a clear response to an unprecedented moment that requires admission officers to reimagine some of the elements we have historically required as we reassure anxious students about their upcoming applications. Worries about oversubscribed test sites, anxiety regarding limited registration access and the incongruity of test prep during a quarantine can be set aside. At Dartmouth, we will welcome any testing element a student chooses to share—the SAT, the ACT, a subject test, an AP score—or none at all. Our admission committee will review each candidacy without second-guessing the omission or presence of a testing element. We strongly advise students to focus on the many holistic elements of the application that showcase academic excellence in a more qualitative way.”

If It Weren’t a Trick Word, Dartmouth Should Forbid the Submission of Test Scores

And that’s all well and nice. It makes for a nice blog post by Dean Coffin. It encourages more students to apply to the College on the Hill. But, as loyal readers of our college admissions blog know so well, we don’t take admissions officers at their word. Not when these same admissions officers so often claim to be need-blind and yet ask applicants — on the very applications admissions officers are privy to — whether or not they need financial aid. Admissions officers shouldn’t tell us that test scores won’t matter this coming year. Rather, they should show us. In our view, test-optional policies aren’t worth the paper they’re written on as these schools will still — in spite of their lofty words — favor students who submit top scores. MIT has forbid the submission of SAT Subject Test. Yale has forbid the submission of SAT Subject Tests this coming year. And, most famously, the University of California system will phase out the SAT and ACT, switching from a newly instated test-optional policy for the Classes of 2025 and 2026 to a don’t-you-send-your-scores-to us policy for the Classes of 2027 and 2028. So until Dartmouth forbids the submission of such scores, this news goes in our ears and out the other ears.


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  • Jonas Freret says:

    You may be right, but at least UChicago is taking kids who do not have anywhere near stellar scores. I know of two, personally, and a recent youtube video has a girl both embarrassed and bragging of her 25 ACT conveniently omitted from her application when she was accepted. Frankly, she seemed like someone who would get a 25. And I do not say that condescendingly, but, rather, quizzically, at the wisdom in these universities policies making themselves test-optional. One thing is for certain: The moment UChicago dropped their SAT/ACT requirement, USNews- the gold standard in college rankings- who ranked UChicago for many years in the top 3, quickly dropped them from 3….to 6! I welcome thoughts from Ivy Coach on this, but it seems a countertuitive and destructive long-term approach given the exclusivity these schools crave. One footnote on UChicago. They MAY have made their school test-optional to ward off any potential lawsuit that Harvard is now fighting for denying high-scoring Asian applicants admission. It seems a similar lawsuit against UChicago would go nowhere now.

  • Enologisto says:

    Exactly, Ivy Coach. Dean Coffin might have done better to say nothing beyond the announcement. Anytime someone follows a statement with another statement saying ‘..and I really mean that..’, s/he immediately loses credibility in my book. And isn’t he the guy behind Tufts Syndrome? I don’t know, maybe if he told us he was dropping that toupee along with standardized tests……

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