Dartmouth College Extends Test Optional Policy for the Class of 2026

February 1, 2021

As the high school class of 2022 begins its college search amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Dartmouth College is continuing its optional testing policy through the 2021-22 admissions cycle. College Board and ACT have advised "flexibility" in standardized testing requirements during the pandemic, and Dartmouth's extended test optional policy follows that advice.

The initial pause in Dartmouth's testing requirement acknowledged the lack of universal access to SAT and ACT test administrations around the world as the pandemic escalated last summer. Sadly, that situation remains true. While standardized testing offers a useful statistical context in our holistic evaluation of each student's academic record—as well as in our assessment of each student's preparation for the curriculum we offer—it is untenable to restore the testing requirement while many high schools remain in a remote learning mode and while access to testing sites poses a health risk for students. Our requirements, our priorities, and our focus must continue to adjust to the reality we face.

As we stated last summer, the choice to include a test score or not is each student's choice to make and that decision will be honored at Dartmouth without prejudice. Each application will be evaluated by what's in the file rather than what is missing from it. For students who wish to submit testing as part of next year's application, no preference is given between the SAT or ACT. Consistent with our previous announcement of the standardized testing policy pause, Dartmouth will not report testing profiles or testing-related data for the classes accepted and enrolled during this test optional period.

Dartmouth will continue to follow the guidance and policies of the Ivy League regarding testing requirements for applicants who expect to participate in the varsity athletic program. In addition, international applicants and students for whom English is not the home language nor the language of instructive should refer to Dartmouth's proficiency testing requirements, which remain unchanged.

We strongly advise students to focus on the many holistic elements of the application that showcase academic excellence and a personal narrative albeit it in more qualitative ways. Dartmouth has practiced holistic admissions review for 100 years, and that ancient ideal of the whole person continues to guide our application review during these unprecedented days.