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Standardized testing now optional for Class of 2025 applicants

Applicants will not be penalized for not submitting test scores, Stanford says

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Applicants for the Class of 2025 will not be required to submit standardized test scores due to “the many challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic,” Stanford announced today, following many peer institutions who have made the same change.

There will be no penalty for applicants who do not submit test scores, according to the University.

“Stanford will review applications with or without standardized test scores, leaving the decision in the hands of the applicant,” Stanford Admissions wrote.

This spring, sittings of the SAT and ACT were canceled as coronavirus shut down in-person learning nationwide. The College Board recently scrapped plans to offer the SAT online after facing criticism over the at-home AP exams in May.

“We recognize the many challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic, and we understand the difficulty students may have in preparing for and accessing admission testing worldwide,” Stanford Admissions wrote. “It may be particularly challenging for students to find alternatives to testing sites that have been oversubscribed, or where availability of testing is pushed further into the school year.” 

Stanford intends to reinstate the SAT or ACT testing requirement for the Class of 2026, according to the announcement. 

Stanford’s announcement comes after most of its peer institutions have made the same decision, including all Ivy League schools but Princeton

For some schools, including the University of California (UC) system, the decision to go test-optional for the Class of 2025 is the first step toward permanently phasing out the use of standardized testing in admissions, amid criticisms that standardized test scores are better indicators of socioeconomic status than academic ability. 

UC admissions will be test-optional next year as well. In 2025, the UC schools will stop considering SAT or ACT test scores for any applicants, in-state or out of state.

Contact Erin Woo at erinkwoo ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Erin Woo '21 is a Managing Editor of News. A communications major and creative writing minor, she plans to pursue a career in journalism. She has also reported for The Mercury News and WNYC. Contact her at erinkwoo 'at' stanford.edu.