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Caltech Restores Standardized Test Requirement for Undergraduate Admission

Published on Thursday, April 11, 2024 | 3:03 pm

Caltech has reinstated its requirement for prospective students to submit SAT or ACT test scores as part of their application for admission to undergraduate study. The test requirement takes effect immediately, which means that all students who apply to Caltech beginning in fall 2024 and would enroll in fall 2025 are required to report test scores as part of their application.

Earlier Thursday, Harvard also announced that it had reinstated standardized testing as a requirement of admission.

Caltech’s decision, which follows a recommendation from a faculty Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Admissions Policy, reflects the judgment that standardized testing provides admissions officers and faculty reviewers useful information about academic preparedness as part of a holistic consideration of all prospective students.

In reinstating the standardized testing requirement, Caltech said it reaffirmed its commitment as a community of scientists and engineers to using all relevant data in its decision-making processes.

The committee found that, even with a testing moratorium in place, an increasing number of applicants have been completing standardized tests each year, with more than 95 percent of the most recently enrolled class having taken standardized exams. But test scores have not been visible to the admissions office until after final admissions decisions have been made.

In the coming admissions cycle, test scores will be used as an additional data point in the context of a student’s unique circumstances and experiences.

The faculty Advisory Committee noted that, “We think it is critical that our admissions office and the faculty who are reviewing applicants have available to them all the information that could shape their understanding of a prospective student’s readiness for our rigorous academic programs.”

The Institute is dedicated to attracting and educating the most talented and promising students in the world – students with deep interests in science, engineering, and mathematics who have the ability, energy, and resilience to flourish in the face of academic challenges, and who bring a diversity of experiences and viewpoints to our community.

“We are proud of the students we’ve enrolled over the last several years and confident in the steps we’ve taken to enhance our ability to identify students who will succeed at – and beyond – Caltech,” says Provost David Tirrell.

The Institute paused its SAT and ACT test requirement in 2020 when it implemented a moratorium in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which reduced access to standardized exams for students worldwide. The moratorium was extended in 2021, and then again in 2022. The Institute’s decision ends the moratorium, which originally was set to expire in 2025.

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