Brown University Reinstates Test Requirements

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Brown University Building

After months of deliberation, Brown University administrators announced the reinstatement of SAT/ACT testing requirements across the institution. 

The new policy will launch with next year’s application cycle, effective for the class of 2029. The institution joins Yale University, Dartmouth College, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in their decisions to bring back the practice after test-optional offerings emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ad Hoc Committee on Admissions Policies collected, reviewed, and analyzed data on the matter over six months before the institution made the decision, according to University President Christina Paxson. 

The committee’s primary recommendations were to reinstate the testing requirement while increasing outreach about Brown’s “testing in context” approach, which aims to ensure understanding that tests are interpreted holistically, in the context of an applicant’s overall record, background, and opportunities.

“Our analysis made clear that SAT and ACT scores are among the key indicators that help predict a student’s ability to succeed and thrive in Brown’s demanding academic environment,” said Provost Francis J. Doyle III, who served as committee co-chair, in a statement. “Consideration of test scores in the context of each student’s background will advance Brown’s commitment to academic excellence and the University’s focus on ensuring that talented students from the widest possible range of backgrounds can access a Brown education.” 

Committee members also reviewed the institution’s legacy admissions policy, or preferences given to applicants with family connections, and Early Decision option, which provides students with an opportunity for early admission. 

The institution is continuing to offer these two policies, however, in relation to legacy practices, which are the subject of intense debate, Paxson said the institution will further “consider a range of complex questions raised by the committee and seeks more input from its community.”

The committee recommended that Brown continue evaluating data on legacy applicants with an emphasis on what will best advance academic excellence, equity, access, and diversity.