MIT Drops SAT Subject Tests

With its decision, no college requires all applicants to submit scores. MIT won't even look at them.

March 23, 2020

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology no longer plans to consider SAT subject scores in admissions, starting with the class that will enroll in fall 2021. MIT is the last college to require the tests for all applicants.

Not only will MIT not require applicants to take the exams, as it has done, but it will not consider the scores of students who submit them.

Stu Schmill, dean of admissions and student financial services at MIT, made the announcement Friday.

"We made this decision after considerable study, in consultation with our faculty policy committee. We believe this decision will improve access for students applying to MIT," said Schmill.

As far as those who have already taken the tests, Schmill said MIT would not look at the results. "In fairness to all applicants, we won’t consider them for anyone. We think it would be unfair to consider scores only from those who have scored well and therefore choose to send them to us. They are neither recommended nor optional; they are simply not a part of our process anymore," he said.

MIT will still require students to take either the SAT or the ACT.

A spokeswoman for the College Board declined to comment.

A generation ago, the SAT Subject Tests, many times called the SAT II or the achievement tests, were the testing norm at elite colleges. The exams are subject specific and test knowledge of mathematics, sciences, literature, history and languages. (Colleges' decisions on the subject tests do not affect their views on the SAT.)

But gradually, colleges stopped asking for them as requirements. (Some colleges require them for engineering students.)

Before MIT, the last two colleges to drop the exams were the California Institute of Technology and Harvey Mudd College.

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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