Yale reverses 'test-optional' admissions policy

Yale University has instituted a 'test-flexible"'admissions policy, reversing its pandemic-era test-optional application process.

Yale University has instituted a “test-flexible” admissions policy, reversing its pandemic-era test-optional application process.

The Ivy League institution announced the change in a post on Thursday, writing that it will require test scores to be submitted in order for an application to be considered.

However, Yale is making a change to which tests can be submitted. In addition to SAT and ACT scores, prospective students can choose to submit Advanced Placement scores or International Baccalaureate scores.

”Test scores convey a relatively small amount of information compared with the rich collection of insights and evidence we find in a complete application. I believe standardized tests are imperfect and incomplete alone, but I also believe scores can help establish a student’s academic preparedness for college-level work,” said Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid at Yale.

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In a separate post, Yale said that test-optional policies “likely discouraged” some students from underrepresented backgrounds from applying.

”While evaluating all these applications, our researchers and readers found that when admissions officers reviewed applications with no scores, they placed greater weight on other parts of the application. But this shift frequently worked to the disadvantage of applicants from lower socio-economic backgrounds,” the university wrote. “This finding will strike many as counterintuitive. To understand the dynamics, it helps to consider the diversity of high schools our applicants attend.”

It explained that students who attended “well-resourced” high schools had alternatives for standardized test scores such as advanced courses and teacher comments.

In other high schools, the “high-achieving” students exhausted the available course offerings, which Yale argued left “only two or three rigorous classes in their senior year schedule.”

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”Teachers with large classes may use positive but generic words of praise in recommendation letters. Students’ out-of-school commitments may include activities that demonstrate extraordinary leadership and contributions to family and community but reveal nothing about their academic preparedness. With no test scores to supplement these components, applications from students attending these schools may leave admissions officers with scant evidence of their readiness for Yale,” the university wrote.