MIT Reinstates SAT or ACT Admissions Requirements for Fall 2023

Bucking the trend, on March 28, 2022, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reinstated requirements for submitting an SAT or ACT score for the next Fall 2023 first year admissions cycle.

In opposition to MIT though, every Ivy League college, plus Stanford and CalTech, have extended test-optional policies for at least another year. (Georgetown University is a notable highly selective college exception, having reinstituted SAT/ACT requirements starting this year for Fall 2022 admissions and beyond.)

MIT admissions officers argue that given the test laden MIT curriculum, as well as an emphasis on mathematics, they gain insights about a student’s ability to demonstrate their aptitude on standardized tests as well as have an objective measure of a student’s mathematical reasoning ability. 

Furthermore, MIT officials emphasize how they’ll consider test scores: 

…only consider scores to the extent they help us feel more confident about an applicant’s preparedness⁠09 to not just to survive, but thrive, at MIT. 

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Yet, simultaneously, MIT officials emphasize that their admissions evaluation is holistic

We do not prefer people with perfect scores; indeed, despite what some people infer from our statistics, we do not consider an applicant’s scores at all beyond the point where preparedness has been established as part of a multifactor analysis.

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Particularly, admissions officers highlight consideration if an applicant: 

[has] a strong match for MIT, including the resilience to rebound from its challenges, and the initiative to make use of its resources. 

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Resilience and initiative may be inferred from test scores, like if a student has taken the SAT or ACT more than once, but students will also share other experiences in their extracurricular resume or elaborated in essays to demonstrate resilience and initiative. 

However, by the end of their announcement about the change in admissions policy starting in the next Fall 2023 admissions cycle, MIT officials also concede

If you are unable to take the tests because of a disaster or disruption, because the SAT/ACTs are (still) unavailable or unsafe to take⁠ 20 in your region, or for another exceptional reason, we will give you space on the application to explain your circumstances, and we will still grant you a full and fair review

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In further explanation of a testing exemption, MIT admissions officers elaborate

In such cases, we will not make any negative presumptions regarding your academic readiness based solely on the absence of SAT/ACT scores, but will instead draw upon the lessons we have learned during the pandemic to make the best, most informed decision we can by rigorously assessing other academic aspects of your application.⁠21 

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In sum, Fall 2023 college applicants, the current high school Class of 2023 Juniors, would be prudent to research the specific SAT/ACT testing policies at each college proposed for application. 

Additionally, as a precaution, students can take the SAT or ACT this Spring 2022 as a hedge, and then in Fall 2022, once a more focused list of colleges is drafted, students can consider if they’ll retake the SAT or ACT to improve their scores. 

For more information about how to both plan for and navigate the complex college admissions process in order to minimize the risk of educational malinvestment, check out 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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