Test-Optional Policies Continue for Another Application Cycle | This Week in Admissions News

17/03/20235 minute read
Test-Optional Policies Continue for Another Application Cycle | This Week in Admissions News
The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students with top university ambitions, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. This week, test-optional policies continue for another application cycle at many top universities in the US. Check back next week to see what’s new and noteworthy in university admissions!

Test-Optional Policies Continue for Another Application Cycle

Brown University will maintain a test-optional policy for all first-year, transfer and Resumed Undergraduate Education applicants in the 2023-2024 admission cycle. Applicants will still be required to submit English proficiency scores and adhere to requirements for varsity athletics. 

The University is the last Ivy League college to announce test-optional extensions through 2024. Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth all extended their test-optional policy beyond the upcoming admissions cycle, and Columbia announced March 1 it would permanently switch to test-optional admissions. Penn and Yale have confirmed that they will be test-optional for the 2023-24 cycle, while Cornell has extended the policy through the next two cycles. “These tests represent only one component in our admissions process in conjunction with other academic and non-academic factors,” Penn said in its announcement.

The College of William & Mary has also announced it will do away with standardized test scores “indefinitely”. A test-optional college is an institution that allows students to apply for admission without necessarily submitting standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT. This approach acknowledges that a single test score might not accurately capture a student's academic capabilities and potential. By offering test-optional admissions, colleges allow applicants to showcase their strengths in other areas, such as grades, course rigor, extracurricular activities, leadership roles, community service, and personal essays. 

On the other hand, many universities went back to their pre-Covid policies of requiring test scores, MIT being one of the top institutions to do so. Other universities like Georgetown, Georgia Tech and the University of Florida alo require test scores. These policies come as the SAT goes digital for international students. While many experts welcome the move away from standardized testing, others claim that test scores are not the only factor skewed due to socioeconomic factors. It remains to be seen whether the new format of the SAT will change some policies.

Other top stories in admissions news this week:

  1. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) announced the launch of a new GMAT exam, featuring a shorter, more flexible format and a reduced test time, Business Because has reported. The ‘GMAT Focus Edition’, scheduled to arrive later this year, will involve less prep content than the current GMAT exam. The streamlined format comprises three 45-minute sections, reducing the test time by one hour. Future business school applicants taking the exam during admissions will no longer have to complete an essay, with all questions becoming multiple choice. To provide added flexibility will also allow a maximum of three answer changes in each section—answer changes are not allowed in the current exam. The GMAT Focus Edition will also allow you to bookmark and review questions as you complete the test. GMAC says it has adapted the question content to focus only on skills that are relevant in the business school classroom, including data literacy and critical reasoning. 
  2. In its Latitudes newsletter dedicated to international education, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports that colleges are increasingly emphasizing the globalization of their curriculums to enable students to communicate effectively across cultures and establish links between their studies and major geopolitical and social issues. According to Fernando M. Reimers, a professor of international education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, this approach can “puncture the ivory tower and build a window into the real world.”
  3. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced the expansion of premium processing and online filing for certain international students applying for or extending Optional Practical Training, the work program for foreign graduates of American colleges. USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou says that the availability of premium processing and online filing should make the immigration process easier for many international students.
  4. A majority of the British public, about two-thirds, support maintaining or increasing the number of international students enrolled in universities within the country. ComRes conducted a new poll for Universities UK, the results of this poll reveal that most of the members of the British public do not perceive international students as immigrants to the UK. The outcome of the poll shows that only 26% think of international students as immigrants, and two-thirds of the British adults think that the local economies are positively impacted by international students. helping towns and communities where they settle and study.