22 DEC 2021
1. Harvard drops standardized test requirements for applicants through 2026
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on access to testing for high school students. To try and make their application process accessible, Harvard University is now allowing students to apply for admission without requiring SAT or ACT scores for the next four years — meaning classes of ‘27, ‘28, ‘29, and ‘30. “Their applications will be considered on the basis of what they have presented, and they are encouraged to send whatever materials they believe would convey their accomplishments in secondary school and their promise for the future” shared William Fitzsimmons, Harvard’s dean of admissions. With this news, Harvard officially joins the growing number of colleges that have extended the test-optional policy.
Crimson’s Take: Given Harvard’s response to the development of the new COVID-19 variant, we expect more US universities to adopt or extend test-optional policies. However, because their admissions officers will still consider submitted test scores, we still encourage students to take the SAT and ACT if conditions allow. Nevertheless, students must demonstrate their scholastic ability in some capacity (usually by way of AP and IB coursework), and their essays and extracurriculars must stand out to get them recognized in the holistic review process US universities use.
2. Early admissions offers keep rolling in from top US universities
Announcements for Early Action and Early Decision are in full swing. Out of 6,146 students, Brown University admitted 896 early decision students from their most diverse applicant pool yet for the class of 2026. Columbia also announced that they have admitted approximately 650 students in their Early Decision round — noting that admitted students come from all 50 states and nearly 50 countries. In the second-most competitive early admission cycle of their history, Harvard also released their early decision results, admitting just 740 students. Official applications for regular admissions close on January 1st for Columbia and Harvard and 5th for Brown.
Crimson’s Take: How to make your application stand out from the crowd. Whatever round of applications you’re going for, we help ambitious students get into world-class universities. Students who work with Crimson are up to 6x more likely to gain admission to top US and UK universities. Our admissions support program is designed to give you individualized support with your university application to top US and UK universities!
3. More campuses are going remote as Omicron cases increase
Following Cornell’s announcement last week to shut down its campus and their December ceremony, Princeton, George Washington Universities, and the University of Pennsylvania announced similar plans. According to the Daily Princetonian, all finals will be taken online, and Princeton has mandated the COVID-19 booster shot for all students, faculty members, and staff. Meanwhile, NYU is showing signs that they will move their fall exams online and cancel all “non-essential-non-academic gatherings.” The vast majority of students at these universities are vaccinated. 99 percent of the undergraduate students at Princeton and NYU are vaccinated, while 97 percent of Cornell’s on-campus population is vaccinated.
Crimson’s Take: We support university precautionary mandates; ensuring the safety of students, staff, and faculty on campus is crucial with the new COVID variant. US universities creating these mandates shows they are prioritizing the safety of their constituents over everything else. We look forward to seeing more universities taking action against the effects of the new variant.