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Columbia University will no longer require applicants to send SAT and ACT scores, making the admission process permanently test-optional. Credit: Kylie Cooper

Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science will no longer require applicants to send in standardized test scores. 

The announcement on Mar. 1 makes Columbia University the first Ivy League school to go permanently test-optional.

Columbia first adopted test-optional admissions for the 2020-2021 cycle in response to COVID-19 and the difficulties of keeping testing centers open. Last February, the University announced that it would extend this policy for the 2023-24 cycle. 

Penn Admissions announced in January 2023 that it would continue its test-optional policy for first-year and transfer applicants through the 2023-24 admissions cycle.

“We will continue to evaluate all components of an individual’s application through our comprehensive review process,” Penn Admissions said.

After the announcement, Dean of Admissions Whitney Soule wrote to The Daily Pennsylvanian that the extension occurred so that Penn Admissions could “responsibly review the role of the test-optional practice.” 

Several other Ivy League schools, including Princeton University and Cornell University, have extended the test-optional policy to future admissions cycles while they evaluate the role that standardized testing should play in the review of applicants. 

According to Columbia University’s announcement, students who choose not to submit test scores will not be at a disadvantage in the application process. 

“We will continue to evaluate all submitted information within an individualized application review process that considers the unique combination of circumstances shaping each applicant's journey,” the university said.

The university did not use the word “permanent” to describe its decision, but the announcement did state that standardized tests will no longer be a required component of its application.

“The holistic and contextual application review process for Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science is rooted in the belief that students are dynamic, multi-faceted individuals who cannot be defined by any single factor,” the announcement said.