Harvard scraps SAT, ACT requirement for next year's applicants amid pandemic

Harvard University on Monday announced it will not require undergraduate applicants to submit their SAT or ACT scores next year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has created insurmountable challenges in scheduling tests for all students, particularly those from modest economic backgrounds, and we believe this temporary change addresses these challenges," the university announced on its website.

The statement said admissions will be based on "accomplishments in and out of the classroom during the high school years, including community involvement, employment and help given to students' families."

The statement also added that students who have difficulties in activities, or who can only submit grades or marks due to the pandemic "will not be disadvantaged as a result."

File of Harvard Univeristy campus. /CFP

File of Harvard Univeristy campus. /CFP

With most high schools closed and examinations delayed or canceled, a number of the U.S. universities and colleges have been considering to scrap standardized test requirements for their new academic years.

Harvard was the latest Ivy League schools to drop the SAT or ACT test requirements. Before it, Dartmouth, Cornell, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Yale and Brown also waived their standardized test requirements for next year's admissions.

But even before the pandemic, there were already calls to cancel SAT and ACT requirements as part of educational reforms as they are unequal for the students of rich families since they can afford expensive prep exams and coaches, as reported by the New York Times.

According to FairTest, a nonprofit organization supporting the movement, by the end of last year, 1,000 schools had made the standardized tests optional, and 200 more schools joined the movement this year. 

Cover image: File of Harvard University via CFP