By: Rikki Kolodny  | 

YU Waives Standardized Test Scores Requirements for 2020-21 Applicants

Yeshiva University waived all SAT/ACT requirements for this year’s pool of applicants for general and honors admissions due to the challenges of obtaining a test score during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Chief Enrollment Management Officer Chad Austein, YU added additional requirements for applicants, such as letters of recommendation and an extracurricular resume. Austein told The Commentator that test scores can still be sent to the admissions team and will only be used to aid in the review of their application; they will not negatively impact students' chances of enrollment. “[The] applicants have a chance to highlight their activities and other elements that they feel the admissions committee should be knowledgeable of that are not evident in their academic coursework,” Austein said.

Applications open for general admissions open on Dec. 15 and close on Jan. 20. Applications for Honors open Nov. 10 and close on Jan. 20 as well. For last year’s applicants, the reported required general and honors admissions scores for applicants to meet were 1170 and 1460 for the SAT, respectively, and 24 and 32 for the ACT, respectively. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, testing centers are required to adhere to local public health guidelines. Testing centers have limited capacity to ensure the safety of test-takers and proctors, making it difficult for students to reserve a seat, which prompted YU to go test-optional for this year’s application cycle.

“The review of applicants has always employed a holistic approach and taken into consideration many factors in our application process,” Austein said. The admissions department considers more than an applicant’s test scores, and the additional requirements will be included in that. There will be no entrance exam in lieu of test scores other than the Hebrew placement exam, which incoming first-time-on-campus students are required to take. Austein added, “If the need should arise to further review applicants for appropriate placements, we can certainly explore the possibility in the future.”

Some universities, such as the University of Arizona and the University of Chicago, have adopted a similar policy to YU and will maintain it for the future to diversify their applicants. YU will return to its traditional policy of requiring an SAT or ACT score for future admissions, according to YU’s website.

“I believe YU has made a wise decision making SAT/ACT scores optional as part of the application process,” Dean of Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences Karen Bacon told The Commentator. “The scramble to find testing dates and locations put unnecessary pressure on the students who are already under the pressure finishing up their senior year studies and planning their futures. By eliminating this hurdle, we will be able to consider all applications in a timely fashion and be certain not to overlook eligible students because of missing test scores.”COVID-19 has brought upon many changes to campus life. Most classes will be completely virtual for the fall semester. For the few classes being taught in-person, YU will be requiring students to test negative with COVID-19 and fill out a pre-screening form prior to entering campus, among other precautionary measures. Recently, move-in dates for on-campus housing have been pushed back from October 14 to October 21 due to an uptick in positive cases in New York.

Photo Caption: The deadline for general and honors admissions open on Dec. 15 and Nov. 10, respectively, and close on Jan. 20.
Photo Credit: Yeshiva University