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Brown extends test-optional policy for 2023-24 admissions cycle

Brown becomes final Ivy to announce extension of test-optional policy for upcoming year

The University's decision to go test-optional for the 2023-24 cycle marks the fourth consecutive year that undergraduate applicants to the University will not have to take the SAT or ACT.
The University's decision to go test-optional for the 2023-24 cycle marks the fourth consecutive year that undergraduate applicants to the University will not have to take the SAT or ACT.

For the fourth year in a row, the University will employ a test-optional policy for applicants, extending the policy for students applying to the class of 2028, according to a Friday announcement from the Office of College Admission. 

“The main reason for the continuation of the policy is the great uncertainty in the admission landscape,” Associate Provost for Enrollment Logan Powell wrote in an email to The Herald. The extension allows the admission office more time to consider the implications of factors such as the two Supreme Court cases on affirmative action, as well as “global conflict, economic concerns (and) the rollout of digital SAT testing,” which began this month.

“All of these forces create uncertainty for schools and families and we decided it was best to extend the test-optional policy for at least one more year,” Powell wrote.

The University originally suspended its test score requirement in June 2020, citing challenges to testing prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The office extended the policy for the 2021-22 application cycle in consideration of applicants’ health and pandemic-related circumstances, The Herald previously reported. For the 2022-23 cycle, the office again extended the policy.


The University is the last Ivy League college to announce test-optional extensions through 2024. Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth all extended their test-optional policy beyond the upcoming admissions cycle, and Columbia announced March 1 it would permanently switch to test-optional admissions. Penn and Yale have confirmed that they will be test-optional for the 2023-24 cycle, while Cornell has extended the policy through the next two cycles.

Of the students who enrolled in the class of 2026, 81% submitted a standardized test score — 54% submitted SAT scores and 27% submitted ACT scores, according to the University’s Common Data Set.

Test scores are only one of the many factors the admission office takes into account in its  holistic review process, according to the announcement. 

As for how test scores are used “in context,” Powell wrote the office hopes to provide more information in the coming months, including guidance on when it may be helpful to submit test scores. Local context is important, he noted; for example, students who score below Brown’s average test scores but higher than their high school’s average should still consider submitting their results. 

Brown’s test score averages increased after the test-optional policy was implemented in 2020, Powell said. With this in mind, the office hopes to share information about admitted students’ average test scores over a longer period of time, allowing prospective students to see the “range of scores” for admitted students. 

In 2022, the middle 50% of admitted students scored between 1500 and 1570 on the SAT or between a 34 and a 36 on the ACT. In 2020, before the test-optional policy was implemented, the middle 50% of admitted students scored between 1440 and 1550 on the SAT or between a 33 and a 35 on the ACT.

According to the office’s FAQ page, the University has no cutoffs or minimum scores an applicant must reach in order to be admitted.

The Office of Admission will re-evaluate the test-optional policy before the 2024-2025 application cycle begins, Powell wrote.


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Haley Sandlow

Haley Sandlow is a section editor covering science and research as well as admissions and financial aid. She is a junior from Chicago, Illinois, studying English and French.

Owen Dahlkamp

Owen Dahlkamp is a Section Editor overseeing coverage for University News and Science & Research. Hailing from San Diego, CA, he is concentrating in political science and cognitive neuroscience with an interest in data analytics. In his free time, you can find him making spreadsheets at Dave’s Coffee.

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