The SATs Make a Comeback

Once considered discriminatory against underprivileged applicants, universities are making a U-turn.

What’s happening: The SAT exam is returning to college application requirements. Some high-ranking colleges and universities eliminated the SAT as a testing requirement for admission during COVID, citing that its removal would improve racial diversity on campus.

  • No test no problem: Proponents of removing the SAT claimed that scrapping standardized testing requirements would have no negative effects on highly selective, in-demand universities.

Problems arose: When standardized tests were removed from application requirements, the acceptance gap between applicants of differing socioeconomic statuses widened. A study from Dartmouth University found that standardized testing did help gifted, but economically disadvantaged students in the admissions process.

  • Poor performance: Many students admitted to top schools without providing standardized test scores performed worse in their college classes.

Why it matters: America’s most prestigious colleges prioritized progressive ideology over qualifications in admissions, robbing talented students of an effective avenue to distinguish themselves, and allowing unprepared students to fill their ranks.

What’s next?: The controversy surrounding standardized testing requirements is not unique to the SAT. The LSAT, used by law schools to measure applicant aptitude, will eliminate its “logic games” section from tests beginning in August 2024.

  • Post-grad: The LSAT has long been billed as a critical exam for determining readiness for law school. Its new changes to “improve test accessibility” raise the prospect that similar problems afflicting undergraduate admissions may find their way into legal education.