University of Chicago No Longer Requiring Applicants’ SAT and ACT Scores

University of Chicago undergraduate admissions no longer requires students applying to include their SAT or ACT scores in their applications. Not only does this change the game for high school applicants, but it rekindles the argument of whether a test should define students. The university publicly stated their change in application review on Thursday. While students are still able to submit their standardized test scores, it’s not necessary. 

The vice president and dean of admissions, Jim Nondorf, at the university stated:

We were sending a message to students, with our own requirements, that one test basically identifies you. Despite the fact that we would say testing is only one piece of the application, that’s the first thing a college asks you. We wanted to really take a look at all our requirements and make sure they were fair to every group, that everybody, anybody could aspire to a place like UChicago.”

Here’s the issue with standardized tests: people should not let three hours of testing define a student’s entire academic career. Around two million students take the SAT, which means the competition and pressure for students are at an all-time high. However, all of these students do not share the same equal opportunities. Students receiving expensive test prep books and SAT classes have the upper hand compared to students who come from low-income families. 

College Board’s spokesperson, Zach Goldberg, stated:

The College Board continues to help students clear a path to college across a changing college admission landscape. With our members, we redesigned the SAT to make it a more fair test for all students, and we revolutionized test prep with free, personalized practice. We will always bet on students and firmly believe that all students can practice, improve and show they’re ready for college.”

Then Ed Colby, spokesman for the ACT, backed up their standardized test. 

ACT scores provide a common, standardized metric that allows colleges to evaluate students who attend different high schools, live in different states, complete difference courses with different teachers, and receive different grades on a level playing field. No other factor used in admission decisions can do that. Comparing students based on widely different sources of information with no common metric increases the subjectivity of admissions decisions.”


Keeping both of the above explanations in mind, the idea of entirely tossing the national exams still seems like a step forward. Not only will it eliminate stereotype threat, but it’ll allow universities to focus on more critical factors in an application such as a student’s character, leadership, and service. Many students have high GPAs, but if they cannot display communication skills, cannot troubleshooting or think individualistically, then how do universities expect their students to flourish? A person can’t be defined by a number forever, because eventually, they’ll have to enter the real working world. 

With that said, the college admission process should be based on merit. Admissions should look at the student’s full transcript. Values like character, integrity, and service play a prominent role in achieving success. 


The University of Chicago can serve as a role model to other selective universities in the United States. Students are not numbers. The concept of basing four years worth of school on a three-hour test is absurd. There are more important principles and factors that should be considered before admissions look at a test score.

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

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