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Yale Joins Other Top Colleges in Requiring SAT Scores to Help Poor Applicants

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Last Updated on February 23, 2024 by Robert C. Hoopes

Yale University Reverses Test-Optional Policy Amid Concerns of Disadvantaging Lower-Income Applicants

Yale University recently announced that it is reversing its test-optional policy for standardized test scores. The decision comes after the university found that the policy may disadvantage lower-income applicants in the admissions process.

Critics have pointed out that standardized tests like the SAT are correlated with wealth, putting students from lower-income backgrounds at a disadvantage. Yale discovered that admissions officers were putting greater weight on other parts of the application besides test scores, which further disadvantaged lower-income applicants.

Wealthy students were able to include other signals of achievement, such as AP classes, giving them an advantage over students without the same resources. By requiring a standardized test score, Yale believes admissions officers will have a better understanding of a student’s ability to succeed at the university.

Under the new policy, students will be required to submit standardized test scores, but they can opt to report AP or IB exam scores instead of ACT or SAT scores. This change comes amid a larger debate about the fairness of admissions at top universities, especially in light of a recent Supreme Court decision and the advantages that wealthy or connected students may have.

Research conducted by Yale found that test scores remain the best predictor of a student’s grades at the university, even after controlling for income and demographic data. Despite this, Ivy League and other top universities have been found to accept wealthy students at a higher rate than other income groups with similar test scores.

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As universities continue to grapple with issues of fairness and access in the admissions process, Yale’s decision to require standardized test scores may be a step toward leveling the playing field for all applicants, regardless of their socioeconomic background.

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