COllege Admissions News and ACT / SAT Strategy

Stay current with the latest undergraduate college admissions news and proven ACT and Digital SAT strategies.

End of Test Optional Part 2: Stanford to require ACT or SAT for Fall 2025 applicants

Earlier this spring, we at MyGuru declared that test optional college admission policies were coming to an end for high school students applying to top American universities. As part of the upcoming 2024-25 application cycle beginning this fall, most of the Ivy League and a notable number of elite universities across the United States are once again requiring an ACT or SAT score. Now, Stanford has quietly announced (in a classic Friday news dump) that it too will be reinstating a standardized testing requirement for undergraduate applicants, but beginning in 2025, making this the final test optional application cycle for the Cardinal. This particular decision is important for two reasons:

  1. It pushes the timeframe for application policy changes back a year
  2. It puts Stanford in direct opposition to its California public university rivals

How to Study for the New Adaptive Digital SAT

This year, College Board—the organization responsible for designing and administering the SAT—has made several massive changes to the format of the test. While the SAT has always improved and refined the exam, this year’s changes are going to change the ways high school students all over the world prep for the standardized exam. If you’re planning to apply to college in the near future, then you’ll want to make sure you’re fully prepared for the new SAT.

Digital ACT vs. In-Person ACT: Which Is Better?

Since 1959, the ACT has helped high school students demonstrate college readiness and qualify for scholarships. But in February 2024, ACT (which is also the name of the organization that designs and administers the exam) launched its biggest change in years: offering a digital version of the ACT as an optional alternative to the classic pencil and paper exam format.

End of Optional ACTs & SATs

With Harvard and Caltech joining the ranks of selective colleges and universities requiring a standardized test once again as part of the 2024-25 application cycle, MyGuru is more than comfortable asserting that all high schoolers planning to attend college should once again plan to take either the ACT or SAT. While many applicants will see this as a negative (who wants to take a test on a weekend, right!?), this return to standardized testing requirements has been supported by each of the institutions reinstating the exams with data illustrating that test optional policies have actually harmed the at-risk and lower income students that they purportedly were intended to help.

How Test Optional Policies Diminish University Authority

This February, Dartmouth and Yale announced the return of standardized testing requirements as part of their undergraduate application processes. Both institutions provided rigorous statistical analysis illustrating that standardized tests remain the single best predictor of student performance upon admission, as well as evidence that removing the standardized testing requirement, contrary to popular belief, actually led to a decrease in admissions of lesser-served student populations. Still, despite overwhelming evidence, these decisions have been met with both approval and derision as various constituencies project larger philosophical debates onto the issue of standardized testing in college admissions.

Should I Submit ACT or SAT Scores to Test-Optional Schools?

 If you’re planning to apply to college in the near-future, you’re probably thinking a lot about the SAT and/or the ACT, the two standardized tests colleges have been using to make admissions decisions for generations. And yet, for this current generation of students, the college admissions landscape has a new feature: the ability to apply test-optional. More and more colleges and universities are offering students the option of not submitting either SAT or ACT scores as part of their admissions materials.

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