Northwestern makes standardized tests optional for Class of 2025 applicants

Segal Visitors Center, 1841 Sheridan Rd. Northwestern has made standardized tests optional for next year’s applicants.

Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Segal Visitors Center, 1841 Sheridan Rd. Northwestern has made standardized tests optional for next year’s applicants.

Emma Edmund, Summer Editor

Northwestern will no longer require Class of 2025 applicants to submit an SAT or ACT score, University officials announced in a Thursday news release.

This standardized test policy is temporary, relating only to students who will apply next school year. The announcement comes after several major universities, including Harvard University, Stanford University and Yale University, announced optional standardized testing policies for next year’s applicants.

The release stated the change was in response to “myriad obstacles” students, especially those from low-income backgrounds, face when scheduling testing opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. First-year applicants can still submit an SAT or ACT score if they choose to, and the release stated that Northwestern’s application review process remains holistic.

“Holistic review means we connect the dots among different parts of your application and make our best judgement based on the picture that emerges,” said Liz Kinsley, Northwestern’s director of undergraduate admission, in the release.

That review can include assessing grades, course rigor, academic honors and personal experiences, among other information. The release also stated the University takes into account information specific to applicants’ personal experiences and various high school settings when evaluating applications.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, Kinsley said in the release other aspects of a student’s application might change, reflecting the possibility of, for example, disrupted classes, pass/no pass grading and unforeseen family circumstances.

“Our holistic process is built to weigh the diversity of circumstances you’re experiencing during these unprecedented times,” Kinsley said.

Kinsley added that students can trust their applications will be reviewed fairly.

People looking to learn more about the admissions process can visit the University’s undergraduate admissions website.

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Twitter: @emmaeedmund

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