Harvard Removes Standardized Testing Requirement for Class of 2026 Applicants


UPDATED: Jan. 30, 2021 at 1:50 p.m.

Applicants to Harvard’s Class of 2026 will not be required to submit standardized test scores as part of their application to the College, the Admissions Office announced Friday.

“Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard College is extending our standardized testing policy through the 2021-2022 application cycle,” the announcement reads. “We will allow students to apply for admission without requiring ACT or SAT test results.”

Students may still choose to submit test results or self-report scores, but they “will not be disadvantaged” if they do not do so.


In the announcement, the Admissions Office wrote it will continue to conduct a holistic review of each applicant by weighing factors other than test scores, such as community involvement, employment, and family obligations.

Students who received pass-fail marks on their transcripts or only pursued limited extracurricular activities due to coronavirus restrictions will not be penalized in the admissions process, per the announcement.

“Their applications will be considered on the basis of what they have presented,” it reads. “They are encouraged to send whatever materials they believe would convey their accomplishments in secondary school and their promise for the future.”

Though the Admissions Office will waive the testing requirement, it will invite accepted students who choose to enroll to submit standardized test scores for “academic counseling, placement, and institutional research.”

Friday's updated admissions policy comes 10 days after the College Board announced it was discontinuing both its Subject Tests and SAT with essay to “reduce and simplify the demands on students” during the pandemic.

Harvard first waived testing requirements in June 2020 for applicants to the Class of 2025, following the lead of other Ivy League institutions.

As of Friday, Columbia, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania are the only other Ivy League schools to indicate they will waive testing requirements for the Class of 2026.

CORRECTION: Jan. 30, 2021

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania were the only other Ivy League schools to waive testing requirements for the Class of 2026. In fact, Columbia had announced Thursday that it would also waive the testing requirement.

—Staff writer Vivi E. Lu can be reached at

—Staff writer Dekyi T. Tsotsong can be reached at