Will the Entire Ivy League be Test Optional for Fall 2023 Admissions?

Updated: March 23, 2022

In September 2021, Cornell University, one of the eight Ivy League colleges, announced the continuation of their test-optional/test-free admissions policy for Fall 2023 and 2024 first year admissions, affecting current Class of 2023 high school Juniors. Will the remainder of the Ivy League follow Cornell’s lead, extending test-optional policies for another year? 

While the exact answer is still to be known, history may be prologue. In April 2020, Cornell was the first Ivy League university to announce test-optional admissions. By early June 2020, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, and Dartmouth all announced test-optional admissions for Fall 2021. Ten days later in mid-June 2020, Harvard, Brown, and Yale all announced test-optional Fall 2021 admissions, while Princeton declared test-optional by the end of June. 

As of December 17, 2022, Columbia and Harvard both have announced extending test-optional admissions policies for several years—Harvard through Fall 2026 admissions (impacting current 8th graders) and Columbia through Fall 2024 admissions. 

Furthermore, the extension may be more probable, as all the Ivy League’s admissions officers will admit two classes of students under test-optional policies for Fall 2021 and 2022. Thus, they’ve already adjusted their evaluation process to account for a potential lack of test scores, learning how to seek insight from other parts of an application. 

Finally, it is worthy to ponder how Ivy League, as well as other US universities, where test-optional policies have been the norm for two years, reverse policy, once again requiring SAT or ACT scores without impugning the integrity of admissions evaluations for two full years

And, will the current Class of 2023 high school juniors, the Fall 2023 incoming first years, simply overlook that their colleagues two years ahead of them were provided an exception without crying, “Foul play!”? 

Whatever the outcome, as we seem to be entering a pandemic-adjusted period, I implore Ivy League administrators to collaborate with each other as well as other university educators where possible to create a national consensus regarding the complicated and often controversial testing policy regarding college admissions.


All eight Ivy League colleges will maintain test optional policies through at least Fall 2023 admisssions, with Harvard as a notable exception, extending test optional admissions through Fall 2026. For more details: All Ivy League Colleges for Fall 2023…and for a few beyond 2023

For more information about how Creative Marbles experts can help students and parents navigate the complex college admissions and essay writing process, more complicated as test-optional admissions policies change how students share their qualifications for admissions, contact us at Creative Marbles Consultancy

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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