The decision replaces the college’s temporary test-optional policy, which it instituted—along with most U.S. colleges and universities—during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When Dartmouth suspended its standardized testing requirement for undergraduate applicants in June 2020, it was a pragmatic pause taken by most colleges and universities in response to an unprecedented global pandemic,” the announcement reads. “Nearly four years later, having studied the role of testing in our admissions process … we believe a standardized testing requirement will improve—not detract from—our ability to bring the most promising and diverse students to our campus.”
In its statement, the college cited new data linking college academic preparedness more closely to test scores than to high school GPA. Those data, based on initial research from Harvard-based Opportunity Insights, were confirmed by an internal study ordered by Dartmouth president Sian Beilock. The Opportunity Insights study reignited a fierce debate over testing last month just as many institutions—including most of the Ivies—are nearing a decision on whether to make permanent their pandemic-era test-optional policies.
Dartmouth added that its internal research showed test scores could help “expand access and identify talent,” a conclusion the statement called “unexpected, thought-provoking, and encouraging.”
The decisions on that front from selective institutions have been mixed so far. Columbia University and the College of William & Mary have extended their test-optional policies indefinitely, while Georgetown University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have reinstated their requirements.