Columbia University abandons standardized tests for admissions

Columbia has opted for a "holistic and contextual application review process."

Joshua Young North Carolina

On Wednesday, Columbia University's Undergraduate Admissions said that taking the standardized ACT and SAT tests were no longer required for admission into the Ivy League school located in New York City.

According to the New York Post, the college announced the change and said, "Our review is purposeful and nuanced — respecting varied backgrounds, voices and experiences — in order to best determine an applicant's suitability for admission and ability to thrive in our curriculum and our community, and to advance access to our educational opportunities."

Columbia first dropped the need for applicants to have ACT and SAT scores during the Covid pandemic and in the academic 2020-2021 year.

The student newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, reported that the school had extended the Covid policy with regards to the tests through 2024 and that their choice was "rooted in the belief that students are dynamic, multi-faceted individuals who cannot be defined by any single factor."

On Wednesday, the college said it is foregoing the tests and opting for a more "holistic and contextual application review process" and said, "we have designed our application to afford the greatest possible opportunity and flexibility for students to represent themselves fully and showcase their academic talents, interests and goals."

While other colleges have removed the SAT and ACT scores as part of admission criteria, Columbia has become the first Ivy League to remove the requirement.

The University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Harvard, and Princeton have all continued their pause on SAT and ACT requirements through at least 2024.

The New York Post reports "just 3.7 percent of over 60,000 applications were accepted" in 2022 and "The number of students of color increased by 4 percent from the previous year, and the number of first-generation students increased by 3 percent."


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