Columbia University Ditches Standardized Testing Requirement For Admissions

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James Lynch Contributor
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Columbia University in New York City is no longer requiring undergraduate applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores to gain admission to the Ivy League school.

Columbia became the first Ivy League to make its temporary test-optional policy permanent with an announcement on Wednesday. (RELATED: Americans Still Agree Race Should Not Be Factored Into College Admission: POLL)

“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,” the school said in its announcement. “Standardized testing is not a required component of our application.”

Tests were one factor used in Columbia’s admissions process to assess academic strength. Additional factors such as GPA, school difficulty, application essay, class rank, and recommendation letters have been used by the school to evaluate applicants, based on data Columbia published in September.

The school released data about its admissions process in the wake of allegations by math professor Michael Thaddeus that Columbia misrepresented data to the U.S. News & World report for its annual rankings, student newspaper Columbia Spectator reported.

Columbia was dropped from second to 18th in the U.S. News undergraduate university rankings because of the scandal, The New York Times reported. Its graduate school programs in fields such as business, economics, journalism, law and medicine are also highly ranked by U.S. News.

Optional testing was temporarily implemented by Columbia during the covid pandemic lockdowns and the university recently extended it through the 2023 – 2024 admissions cycle, per the Columbia Spectator. Other Ivy League schools such as the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Harvard University and Princeton University have enacted similar extensions to test-optional admissions.