MIT Goes Test Optional for a Year

Like other colleges, it says COVID-19 requires flexibility.

July 20, 2020

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the last highly ranked college to still require standardized tests for admission, has gone test optional for one year.

Stu Schmill, dean of admissions and student financial services, wrote on his blog, "This was not a decision we made lightly. Our reliance on these tests is outcome-driven and applicant-oriented: we don’t value scores for their own sake, but only to the extent that they help us make better decisions for our students, which they do. We regularly research the outcomes of MIT students and our own admissions criteria to ensure we make good decisions for the right reasons, and we consistently find that considering performance on the SAT/ACT, particularly the math section, substantially improves the predictive validity of our decisions with respect to subsequent student success at the Institute. As such, we had hoped that the public health situation would improve such that taking the tests would be safe and accessible to everyone well in advance of the application deadline. Unfortunately, that seems unlikely to be the case."

Schmill added that "we expect this to be a one-year suspension of our usual requirements, but will continue to monitor the public health situation closely."

He said that "students who have already taken the SAT/ACT are encouraged to send their scores with the understanding that they help us more accurately evaluate their preparedness for MIT, and with the knowledge that tests are only one factor among many in that process." But he added that "students who do not submit SAT/ACT scores will not have any negative inferences drawn from their absence. Instead, we will make the best, most informed decision we can by assessing other academic aspects of their application like grades, curriculum, and other examinations.⁠"

Many other colleges are also announcing test-optional policies. Among them are:


Be the first to know.
Get our free daily newsletter.


We are retiring comments and introducing Letters to the Editor. Letters may be sent to [email protected].

Read the Letters to the Editor  »

Today’s News from Inside Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed’s Quick Takes

Back to Top