The decision was made in the light of “unprecedented challenges” presented by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, including disruption to coursework and the lack of access to key entrance exams such as the ACT and SAT, the University said in a statement.
“University leadership considered the many hurdles students—especially those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and underrepresented communities—families, counselors and school administrators will have to overcome in the months ahead due to changes within school communities,” the statement stressed.
Princeton noted that the change in its standardized test policy will apply for one year and extend toward transfer applicants as well. Students who wish to submit their scores may still do so during this admissions cycle, although those who don’t will not be considered at a disadvantage.
The policy change comes as many institutions in the United States, including every other member of the Ivy League, have amended their testing requirements to become test-optional for the Class of 2025 applicants. In April, Cornell University became the first Ivy League school to shelve the SAT and ACT requirements, saying that it would place more value on non-testing elements such as transcripts, extra-academic activities, essays, and recommendation letters.
The College Board, the organization that administers the SAT, said earlier this month that it would no longer consider offering an at-home test because that requires three hours of “uninterrupted, video-quality” internet connection, which isn’t available to all students.
“We know demand is very high and the registration process for students and families under this kind of pressure is extremely stressful,” said College Board CEO David Coleman in a statement. “There are more important things than tests right now.”
Millions of high school students have found their academic plans disrupted this spring, as designated SAT and ACT testing locations, mostly local high schools, had to remain closed for months due to the pandemic.
The College Board has also asked colleges to be flexible on SAT scores and other matters for Class of 2025 applicants. Specifically, the board wanted colleges to extend early action and early decision deadlines so that students have more time to test and submit their scores, or “equally” consider students who are unable to take the test as those who submitted test scores.