What does it take to get into Harvard? Not the SAT for another four years.
Harvard announced that it will no longer require applicants to submit ACT or SAT testing through 2026.
Instead, students are encouraged to submit 'whatever materials they believe' best showcase academic accomplishments.
Harvard University has announced that its undergraduate school, Harvard College, is extending its policy to not require standardized testing for admission through 2026.
The updated policy affects future Harvard classes of 2027 through 2030.
The requirement was originally discontinued due to inaccessible testing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted the classes of 2025 and 2026.
In its statement, Harvard College explained that standardized testing scores are one factor among many that are used to gauge a student’s capabilities in the classroom. Other factors include accomplishments “in and out of the classroom” such as “extra-curricular activities, community involvement, employment, and family responsibilities.”
“Applicants will be considered on the basis of what they have presented, and students are encouraged to send whatever materials they believe would convey their accomplishments in secondary school and their promise for the future,” the statement clarified.
Campus Reform has previously reported on similar instances of colleges and universities cutting standardized testing from admission requirements.
Recently, Stanford University announced that they will continue the optional-testing policy for the third year in a row due to COVID-19 concerns.
Pitzer College has taken a more permanent approach, instituting a “test-blind” policy that eliminates entrance tests from the review process.
But standardized testing isn’t the only policy that is facing significant changes to how students apply and are considered. Rather, a push from Harvard students to reconsider the legacy policy sparked mid-semester following an October opinion article published in the student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson.
The legacy policy is a standard that has been applied to numerous colleges and universities for decades. Legacies include students who are admitted to a college or university that was previously attended by a family member.
The Crimson opinion piece, titled “Harvard Must Abolish Legacy Admissions,” argues that legacy policies foster a system of inequality when it comes to admission standards. The author makes a call to action for Harvard to abolish the practice as an effort to expand accessibility in higher education.
“It is unreasonable for Harvard to continue to privilege legacy students in its admissions process. Giving advantage to children of alumni goes against the meritocratic spirit and impedes social mobility,” the author writes. “Instead of entrenching already existing inequality, an institution like Harvard should commit more resources to promoting equity and democratizing higher education.”
For the 2022 class, alone, approximately one third of incoming students self-identified as legacy, The Crimson reported.
Another piece published by The Crimson Editorial Board further elevated concerns over legacy admissions.
Titled “High Time to End Legacy Admissions,” the Oct. 28 article declares that the administration is “falling behind” other universities when it comes to “kicking the unfair extra look” given to legacy students.
Both articles were written after Amherst College, located in Amherst, Massachusetts, announced the dismissal of their legacy program in October.
“It is time to end this historic practice of giving a preference on the basis of heredity. Making this change will help us work against the perception that ‘having a connection’ is the best or the only way to get into elite colleges,” the statement announced.
Campus Reform reached out to Harvard College and The Crimson Review for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.