Stanford waives standardized testing requirement for Class of 2026 and transfer applicants

Feb. 2, 2021, 11:15 p.m.

Stanford will not require first-year and transfer applicants to submit standardized test scores during the 2021-22 admissions season, the Office of Undergraduate Admission announced on Tuesday.

“We recognize the ongoing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, including limited access to admission testing worldwide,” the announcement read. “We urge students not to jeopardize their health or well-being to take future sittings of non-required tests.”

The University will continue to accept standardized test scores from applicants, according to the announcement, though “applications without test scores will not be at a disadvantage.” The admissions office underscored that it is committed to conducting a “holistic review” of applicants that takes into account personal context.

The Faculty Senate Committee on Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid approved an extension of the current policy that allows admissions officers to review applications with or without standardized test scores due to “limited access to admission testing worldwide,” wrote Stanford spokesperson E.J. Miranda in an email to The Daily. No decision regarding testing for the class entering in fall 2023 has been made, according to Miranda. 

Stanford first waived its standardized testing requirement last summer for applicants to the Class of 2025. The number of supplemental essays was also reduced from 11 to eight.

Following a “notable increase” in application numbers, Stanford announced that it will delay the release of admissions decisions for the Class of 2025 by roughly a week in contrast to previous years. First-year applicants will receive decisions by April 9 and must enroll by May 3.

Peer institutions have seen record-low early admit rates. Harvard College’s restrictive early action admit rate fell to 7.4% from 13.9%, while the University of Pennsylvania’s early decision admit rate dropped to 11% from 14% in the previous year. Stanford stopped publicizing admissions data for its incoming classes in 2018 to reduce the “outsized emphasis placed on the admit rates at U.S. colleges and universities.” 

Stanford’s decision not to require standardized test scores for the next application season follows similar actions taken by a number of peer institutions, including Cornell, Harvard, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania. The announcement also comes days after the College Board eliminated the SAT subject tests and SAT’s optional essay section to “adapt to new realities and changes to the college admissions process.” 

Contact Cameron Ehsan at cehsan ‘at’

Cameron Ehsan is a junior at Stanford studying neurobiology. He served as a news editor and newsroom development director for Vol. 261 and was the Vol. 260 winter managing editor.

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