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### Brown Reverts to Mandating Standardized Tests

Brown University, one of the most highly selective institutions of higher education in the country, has decided to reverse its pandemic-era policy that allowed applicants to forgo submitting standardized test scores.

For the academic year 2025-2026, prospective students will be required to include SAT or ACT scores in their applications, as communicated by Brown University President Christina H. Paxson in a recent message to the campus community.

Paxson indicated that this decision aligns with the guidance provided by the Ad Hoc Committee on Admissions Policy, which was established in September 2023 to review Brown’s admission practices. The committee’s evaluation encompassed standardized testing criteria and the Early Decision process, which entails students committing to Brown by mid-December and withdrawing applications from other colleges.

In her communication, Paxson highlighted the committee’s rationale for reintroducing standardized testing, emphasizing that a test-optional approach could put students from less privileged backgrounds at a disadvantage. She underscored the value of test scores in providing additional context amidst a sea of high grades, especially for students from schools with limited resources for extracurricular activities.

Brown University, recognized as one of the top institutions nationwide, initially suspended testing requirements during [year]. The challenges in accessing standardized tests prompted several prestigious universities, including Ivy League schools, to waive these requirements during the pandemic.

Notably, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discontinued its reliance on standardized test scores in March 2022. Dartmouth College and Yale University subsequently reinstated their testing mandates for the Class of 2029, with Yale offering flexibility by accepting Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) scores in place of ACT or SAT results.

According to an advocacy group for equitable testing practices, over 1,900 schools had waived testing requirements for the 2024 academic year as of July 2023.

Brown University Provost Francis J. Doyle III emphasized that the policy adjustment aims to uphold the educational quality at Brown for a diverse student body. He stressed the predictive value of SAT and ACT scores in assessing students’ potential to excel in Brown’s rigorous academic environment.

Despite concerns regarding the impact of Early Decision policies on students comparing financial aid packages, Brown University has maintained its stance, citing a commitment to substantial financial aid offerings. The Ad Hoc Committee’s recommendations influenced Paxson’s decision to retain the existing Early Decision policy.

Paxson noted that the committee’s formation was prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2023 ruling against race-conscious admissions. The committee’s recommendations, slightly delayed but submitted in February, were intended to be implemented for the fall 2024 semester.

Exceptions to the testing requirements include student veterans, transfer applicants, and individuals who had to pause their undergraduate studies due to extenuating circumstances.

While the committee deliberated on preferences for legacy applicants, commonly referred to as students with family ties to Brown, no immediate policy changes were enacted. The committee aims to gather more insights to inform future decisions on this matter.