Haverford College scraps standardized test requirement amid pandemic
Haverford’s decision follows similar moves by many other prominent colleges around the country in the last few weeks, including Boston University, Tufts, Vassar, Williams, Amherst, Pomona, Case Western, the University of California, including Berkeley and UCLA, and Davidson in North Carolina.
Haverford College will not require standardized test scores for admission for at least the next three years, given the disruption caused by the coronavirus, the school announced Thursday.
“We believe this change to our standardized testing policy will reduce stress and provide students with much greater flexibility as they navigate a college admission process that is unfolding much differently than expected,” said Jess Lord, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid.
Admission decisions have been made for students entering this fall; the change takes effect for students applying for fall 2021. Students will have the option of submitting scores.
Haverford’s decision follows similar moves by many other prominent colleges around the country in the last few weeks, including Boston University, Tufts, Vassar, Williams, Amherst, Pomona, Case Western, the University of California (including the main Berkeley campus and UCLA), and Davidson, according to the Boston-based Fair Test: National Center for Fair and Open Testing, a critic of the SAT and other standardized tests. Locally, Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia and Neumann University in Aston announced recently that they were going test-optional.
» READ MORE: More local colleges are scrapping SAT requirement
Some schools have scrapped the requirement for three years like Haverford, others for one year, and some indefinitely, said Bob Schaeffer, interim executive director of Fair Test.
The virus has led to widespread disruption on college campuses, with most moving to remote instruction for the rest of the semester. SAT and ACT tests have been canceled, and there’s uncertainty about when they can resume. Schools also have had to cancel on-campus tours for prospective applicants.
The move to make scores optional also comes as the higher education marketplace braces for financial losses and an uncertain enrollment season, with questions about when campuses can reopen. Challenges had already loomed from growing competition and the decrease in high school graduates.
The latest wave follows a steady increase in schools that have stopped requiring scores for admission to varying extents in recent years, including in this area Temple, Bryn Mawr, Rosemont, Immaculata, Stockton, Rider, Rowan, Susquehanna, Ursinus, Delaware, Cabrini, Dickinson, Eastern, Franklin and Marshall, Gettysburg, La Salle, Muhlenberg, and St. Joseph’s.
Now almost half of four-year colleges around the country are test optional, Schaeffer said.
“This is the tipping point,” he said of the recent addition of schools.
» READ MORE: Temple to make test scores optional for admission
Haverford, which enrolls 1,314 students, admits about 16% of its applicants. Lord said standardized test scores traditionally played a small role in the evaluation process.
At the end of three years, the college will evaluate the impact of the change and decide whether to continue.