The dominoes continue to fall. Northwestern University has announced a change to its admissions policy for applicants to the Class of 2025: the school will be test-optional. Applicants will not be required to submit SAT or ACT scores, though they are free to do so if they wish. Northwestern, like all of the Ivy League schools and a number of other highly selective institutions, has waived the SAT / ACT requirement due to test cancelations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Northwestern’s moratorium on requiring SAT / ACT testing will be in effect for only this next admissions cycle (at least as of now!).
Northwestern Will Not Require SAT / ACT for Applicants to Class of 2025
As Jon Yates writes for Northwestern Now in a piece entitled “Northwestern makes tests optional for class of 2025 applicants,” “The temporary test-optional policy for the 2020–2021 admission cycle is in response to myriad obstacles students face — especially those from low-income backgrounds — in scheduling standardized testing opportunities amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. First-year applicants may submit an SAT or ACT score if they wish, but scores are not required. Northwestern’s review process will remain grounded in a holistic approach coupled with a commitment to college access. The admissions committee will continue to weigh each applicant’s academic and intellectual fit for Northwestern through a comprehensive assessment of grades, course rigor, recommendations, academic honors or awards, personal essays and other information specific to applicants’ individual experiences and high school settings.”
Cutting Through the Spin on Test-Optional Policies
As our loyal readers know, we don’t believe test-optional policies are worth the paper they’re written on. So long as an institution allows applicants to submit SAT / ACT testing, students with top scores will always have an advantage — including at Northwestern and in spite of what their administrators may say to the contrary. Only when a school forbids the submission of such scores do we believe the policy has weight. So while Northwestern’s press release about going test-optional is very nice, do remember it’s just that — a press release.
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