Cornell University Drops SAT, ACT Requirements

AP Photo/Jonathan Jay Fink
AP Photo/Jonathan Jay Fink

Cornell University has decided to forgo its SAT and ACT requirements this upcoming semester over the Chinese virus pandemic.

Prestigious Ivy League school Cornell is suspending its SAT and ACT requirements for the fall admissions cycle due to the Wuhan coronavirus, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The report added that Cornell University is the first of the Ivy League school to drop standardized testing requirements for its incoming freshmen class.

All eight of America’s Ivy League universities have already adopted lenient grading policies in response to the Chinese virus — a move that has resulted in several class action lawsuits filed by students at other universities around the country.

As for Cornell University, the school announced on Wednesday that difficulties in administering the SAT and ACT tests to high schoolers is one of the reasons for its policy change, stating that the “pandemic emergency has led to many SAT and ACT administration cancellations.”

“Due to this extraordinary circumstance, students seeking to enroll at Cornell University beginning in August 2021 can submit their applications without including the results from ACT or SAT exams,” adds Cornell.

The university added that this policy change will not be permanent, as the school “anticipate[s] that many students who will have had reasonable and uninterrupted opportunities to take the ACT and/or SAT during 2020 administrations will continue to submit results.”

“This is a one-year relief for students who had been assembling a distinguished record of achievement until the COVID-19 disruption started in their country, region, or school, and who continue to seek the higher education opportunities toward which their efforts had been directed,” said Cornell.

Moreover, Cornell added that students who cannot take the standardized tests might have areas of their applications scrutinized, and may be subject to further review.

“Applicants with no test results might more often be asked after review has begun for additional evidence of continuing preparation, including grade reports from current senior year enrollment when that can be made available in time for Cornell admission review,” stated the university.

Therefore, the university added that while submitting SAT and ACT test scores is now optional, students should still do so if they can, noting that the test results “might still be a meaningful differentiator” for students who live in areas where standardized testing is offered, and who have not been financially impacted during the coronavirus crisis.

“We can’t pre-define in absolute, comprehensive terms what economic or personal disruptions will look like,” said Cornell. “We don’t plan to require any students to justify their reasons for not submitting test results, though we will hope to partner with applicants and their advocates throughout the reading period in order to understand each applicant’s circumstances.”

Cornell also insisted that these “emergency” changes “does not intend to suggest conviction at Cornell that examination results can’t help us to evaluate candidates and predict their college success in the future.”

“We will evaluate our experience during the upcoming reading cycle and review our policies and options then,” the university affirmed.

Cornell University is not the only school to suspend its standardized testing for incoming students. The University of California has recently suspended SAT and minimum grade requirements due to the coronavirus pandemic.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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