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Cornell University last week suspended the SAT and ACT requirement for applicants for fall 2021 enrollment, becoming the first Ivy League institution to do so.

Many top liberal arts colleges have made such moves, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. But top research universities (with the exception of the University of Chicago, which acted before the pandemic) have not done so.

While Cornell will accept applications without SAT or ACT scores, it made clear that wishes it didn't have to do so.

"Cornell over all has not planned to adopt a test-optional admission policy permanently. As appears to be true at test-optional colleges and universities, we anticipate that many students who will have had reasonable and uninterrupted opportunities to take the ACT and/or SAT during 2020 administrations will continue to submit results, and those results will continue to demonstrate preparation for college-level work," the university said.

It added, "In Cornell’s review during the 2020-21 application cycle, results from the ACT or SAT might still be a meaningful differentiator in particular for students who live near or attend a school that will be open, and where testing will be offered, or who live near a testing center that will be offering more testing seats or dates than they did in 2019; and have not experienced lost income for one or more of their household providers or other significant new hardships and losses during 2020."

Some of the other colleges that announced a move toward test optional in the last week are:

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