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College Admissions Update: The SAT is Back by Dartmouth’s Decision


The debate around the role of standardized testing in college admissions is witnessing a pivotal shift, underscored by recent developments at Dartmouth College. Dartmouth announced yesterday that it would once again require applicants to submit standardized test scores starting next year, marking a significant moment in the broader discourse on educational equity and excellence.

Dartmouth’s SAT Decision: A Data-Driven Approach 

Dartmouth’s move, as detailed in a recent New York Times article, stems from a thorough examination of the role and impact of standardized tests in admissions. Under the leadership of President Sian Beilock, the college conducted an internal study to reassess the value of these tests. The findings revealed that standardized test scores are a more reliable indicator of student success at Dartmouth than high school grades, essays, or teacher recommendations.

More striking was the discovery regarding the test-optional policy’s unintended consequences on lower-income applicants. Dartmouth’s analysis showed that many of these students refrained from submitting their scores under the test-optional policy, mistakenly believing their scores were too low. This omission likely cost them a spot at Dartmouth, as their actual scores would have demonstrated their resilience and potential to thrive in challenging environments.

The Implications for Equity and Excellence

This insight into Dartmouth’s decision-making process underscores the nuanced role of standardized testing in fostering academic diversity and opportunity. The college’s commitment to recognizing and rewarding the achievements of students from varied backgrounds is a testament to the belief that excellence emerges through diversity.

The reinstatement of testing requirements is viewed not as a step backward but as a move towards a more inclusive and fair admissions process. By requiring test scores, Dartmouth aims to ensure that all students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, have their achievements fairly evaluated in the context of their personal circumstances.

What This Means for Prospective College Students

For students aiming for selective colleges like Dartmouth, this development highlights the enduring relevance of standardized tests. Preparing for and excelling in these exams can be a crucial element of a successful college application. It’s a clear signal that, despite the changing landscape, the value of a strong test score remains undiminished.

At AJ Tutor, we recognize the importance of these developments for our students. Our test prep services are designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to navigate the standardized testing landscape successfully. We believe in the power of preparation to not only achieve outstanding test scores but also to lay the groundwork for academic and personal growth.

Navigating the Future Together

As the conversation around standardized testing and college admissions continues to evolve, one thing remains clear: the need for strategic, informed preparation. Whether policies shift towards or away from test-optional, the advantage of a solid test score is undeniable.

In this landscape of change, AJ Tutor stands ready to support students and families with expert guidance and comprehensive preparation services. Together, we can navigate these shifting sands, aiming for a future filled with academic success and opportunity.


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