By: Shoshy Ciment  | 

YU Honors Programs Changes SAT Requirement for Admission, Lowers Mandatory Number of Honors Classes

As of this year, admittance to the three undergraduate honors programs at Yeshiva University no longer requires an SAT score of at least 1400 or its equivalent ACT score of 32.

Whereas admittance to the S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program at Stern College and the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program at Yeshiva College previously required a 1400 minimum on the SAT (the Sy Syms honors program requires a 1350), the standardized test score is no longer a determining factor in admittance.

Geri Mansdorf, the Director of Undergraduate Admissions, explained that the change came as a result of ongoing conversations with college guidance counselors and heads of school regarding the unfortunate circumstances in which exceptional students were barred from consideration for the honors programs because they narrowly missed the cut on their standardized test scores.

Mansdorf wrote, “in response to [these conversations] and to allow truly outstanding students a chance to be considered for our undergraduate honors programs, we decided to try a new approach.” “Our goal was to open the program to a wider array of students while maintaining the integrity of the program as well as its high academic standards”, she explained.  She asserted that by considering students “whose test scores were excellent, if perhaps a bit short of our previous cutoffs”, they were able to meet with “stellar candidates” that might not have originally been given a chance.

Marcy Roberts, the Director of College Guidance at the Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida, said that she was pleased to hear about the relaxed requirement for the honors programs, as it opened the doors for more students to be considered. However, she noted that it was interesting that “despite these more flexible scores, the average scores for those students eventually admitted was actually even higher than the original cutoff.”

Indeed, the YU admissions page that outlines the requirements for the honors programs states that the average SAT score of acceptees is a 1450 on the SAT, or a 33 on the ACT, remarkably higher than the original requirement.

Despite what could be viewed as a drop in standards, Mansdorf asserts that those in admissions are “confident that this new cohort of honors students will continue to be high achievers at YU and challenge not only themselves, but their peers and professors, as well.”

In addition to these new changes for admittance to the honors programs, the YC faculty recently announced that students who are in the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors program will now be required to take just 6 (rather than the previously required 8) honors courses in order to graduate. A reason for this change, as delineated in an email sent to all honors students on April 19th, is to increase the number of students writing honors theses by giving students more opportunities to fulfill their requirements and still be able to enroll in the classes necessary for them to write their thesis in their last two semesters on campus.

“I remind you that the terms of your financial awards include completion of all aspects of this requirement (courses and thesis) and that compliance is closely monitored” wrote Shalom E. Holtz, the Director of the Honors Program.

Students in the S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program at Stern College are still required to take 5 honors courses in order to graduate in addition to completing a thesis.