SATs are back. Dartmouth is the first Ivy League to reverse course after pledging to remove standardized test requirement.

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SATs are back. Dartmouth is the first Ivy League to reverse course after pledging to remove standardized test requirement.
Filled-out multiple-choice test.spxChrome/Getty
  • Dartmouth reinstated its standardized test requirement for 2029 applicants.
  • Dartmouth and all the other Ivy League's removed the test requirement following the pandemic.
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Dartmouth is the first Ivy League to reinstate its standardized test requirement, which will go into effect for 2029 applicants.

The decision comes after the school paused the testing requirement during the pandemic and fully adopted a test-optional policy for people applying in 2025, 2026, and 2027. The move followed a growing push to remove the requirement.

The reintroduction of the standardized test requirement was based on a research study the school's faculty recently conducted with Brown University, according to Dartmouth's president.

The study found that test scores indicated academic performance and could predict first-year success in a way that high-school grades and other non-test factors couldn't determine. The findings mirror the conclusions of other Ivy Plus studies on the topic.

Requiring standardized test scores increases the likelihood that the school's admissions will identify high-achieving and less-advantaged applicants, according to the study conducted by Dartmouth and Brown faculty.

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"Our bottom line is simple: we believe a standardized testing requirement will improve—not detract from—our ability to bring the most promising and diverse students to our campus," Dartmouth's vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid, Lee Coffin, said in a statement.

Bruce Sacerdote, one of the researchers, said that some applicants could have tripled their chance of acceptance if they submitted test scores, the school's student-run publication, The Dartmouth, reported.

Since the Supreme Court shut down affirmative action, schools have been reassessing the role of standardized tests. Amid the rising debate in 2022, a Pew Research study analyzing the role of various factors in college admissions found that 85% of Americans believed standardized tests should contribute to the process of determining college acceptance.

Historically, standardized test scores have reflected national inequalities, with caucasian and Asian Americans scoring higher than Black and Latino test-takers. Without them though, the college application process is becoming more competitive than ever and grade inflation can make it difficult for admissions officers to decide on student applicants.

Coffin said that the reinstatement of the test requirement may lead to a smaller number of applicants, The Dartmouth reported.

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MIT was one of the first colleges to reinstate its standardized test requirement after the results of a study that reviewed applicants over the last 15 years. The school says its current first-year class, which used SAT and ACT scores in the admissions process, is highly racially diverse with over 55% of the class including students of color.

Dartmouth may be the first Ivy League to reinstate the SAT or ACT requirement, but others are considering following suit.

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