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Yale University Joins Dartmouth, MIT, and Georgetown in Requiring Applicants to Submit Standardized Test Scores; Kaplan Survey Suggests Other Schools Will Join Them

Yale University announced today that it will join a growing number of top colleges and universities across the United States that are reinstating the requirement that prospective students submit scores from standardized tests, including the SAT® or ACT®; but the university also said it will permit applicants to submit scores from subject-based Advanced Placement® or International Baccalaureate® tests in lieu of SAT or ACT scores, as part of what they are calling a “flexible testing policy.” In announcing its decision, Yale said evaluating applicants without test scores “worked to the disadvantage of applicants from lower socio-economic backgrounds.” On February 5, Dartmouth College became the first Ivy League school to bring back the standardized testing requirement. And results from Kaplan’s 2023 college admissions officers survey find that these schools may not be alone for long*. Of the more than 200 test optional schools Kaplan surveyed late last year, 15 percent said they are considering reinstating or will definitely reinstate the requirement.

The survey also finds that among these same test optional schools, 67 percent say if a student submits a competitive SAT or ACT score, it helps their application.

“When the COVID pandemic hit in March 2020, the college admissions landscape was transformed almost overnight. Pre-pandemic, the vast majority of colleges and universities still required applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores, but amid concerns about students safely being able to sit for the exams and concerns that applications may drop, most schools went test optional. What we are seeing might be a slight turning of the tide, but not yet a sea change,” said Brian Carlidge, senior vice president, Kaplan. “Kaplan’s most recent college admissions officers survey finds that a significant percentage of test optional schools are reevaluating their policies, as they may have already served their purpose and run their course, and may now be counterproductive to their original intent. Trends like this tend to have a snowball effect, so if more top schools bring back the requirement, expect more to follow. We’ll be tracking this issue carefully.”

Carlidge points out that the possible shift back to standardized test scores comes amid the launch of the digital SAT in March and a possible enrollment cliff that has many colleges and universities concerned about their long term stability.

To speak with an expert at Kaplan, contact Russell Schaffer at

*Admissions officers from 203 of the nation’s top national, regional, and liberal arts colleges and universities – as compiled by U.S. News & World Report – were polled by e-mail and phone between August and December 2023.

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About Kaplan

Kaplan, Inc. is a global educational services company that helps individuals and institutions advance their goals in an ever-changing world. Our broad portfolio of solutions help students and professionals further their education and careers, universities and educational institutions attract and support students, and businesses maximize employee recruitment, retainment, and development. Stanley Kaplan founded our company in 1938 with a mission to expand educational opportunities for students of all backgrounds. Today, our thousands of employees working in 26 countries continue Stanley’s mission as they serve about 1.2 million students and professionals, 13,000 corporate clients, and 4,000 schools, school districts, colleges, and universities worldwide. Kaplan is a subsidiary of the Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC). Learn more at

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC)

New Kaplan survey suggests that more colleges and universities may soon join Yale, MIT, and Georgetown in bringing back requirement that applicants submit SAT/ACT scores.


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