Yale University says it will bring back standardized testing for undergraduate admissions

Harkness Tower stands over the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Conn. The university said Thursday it is returning to requiring standardized test scores for undergraduate admissions. File Photo by Peter Foley/EPA-EFE

Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Yale announced a new standardized testing policy for admissions Thursday for first-year and transfer applicants, ending pandemic-era test-optional admissions for undergraduates.

Jeremiah Quinlan, Yale's dean of undergraduate admissions, said returning to the use of test scores can actually help applicants who have disadvantaged backgrounds.

"Our research strongly suggests that requiring scores of all applicants serves to benefit and not disadvantage students from under-resourced backgrounds. Test scores are not the core of our review process, but they are useful, and they can help applicants, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds."

Yale said in a statement that it "will again require students to include scores with their applications. But, for the first time, Yale will allow applicants to report Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam scores in lieu of the ACT or SAT."

Yale said tens of thousands of students seek admission, far more than the university is able to admit.

When evaluating these applicants with no test scores, the university said, admissions officers reviewing the process found that shifting emphasis away from scores to other parts of applications "worked to the disadvantage of applicants from lower socio-economic backgrounds."

Quinlan said the entire Yale admissions staff is keenly aware of standardized test research on the correlation between scores and household income as well as the persistent gaps by race. That research shows students with greater resources tend to earn higher scores on average.

Quinlan said Yale has significantly increased diversity on campus, citing data from 2013-2019 showing first-year students eligible for a Pell Grant increased by 95%, first-generation college students increased 65%, and under-represented minority students increased 52%.

Quinlan maintained that for students coming from high schools with fewer enrichment resources, applications without scores can "can inadvertently leave admissions officers with scant evidence of their readiness for Yale."