Columbia admissions extends its test-optional policy for the 2021-2022 application season, according to a recent announcement.

Columbia University will extend its test-optional admissions policy for Columbia College and Columbia Engineering applicants for the Class of 2026, according to an announcement released on the Columbia Undergraduate Admissions website earlier today. According to the Office of Admissions, this decision was made “in response to continued disruptions to standardized testing availability due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The full text of the announcement has been provided below.

Columbia University announced that while they will continue to accept self-reported scores and official scores upon enrollment, the university would be test-optional for an additional year to accommodate students who faced difficulty during the COVID-19 pandemic, acknowledging that some students may not be able to take the test more than once. For students who do not submit a test, their GPAs, high school academic accomplishments, and the standards of high school education will continue to be the guiding elements of student achievement. Columbia transfer students will still be required to submit test scores if they have tested. The university will comply with the guidance of the Ivy League and has not yet determined the testing requirements for student athletes. 

Test optional policies may have led to more students applying to competitive colleges across the board. For example, Harvard University announced that they received nearly 57,000 student applicants for the class of 2025, compared to the 40,248 applicants from the previous year. This record-high number of applications has forced Harvard’s admissions office to delay its regular decision admissions release. 

Announcement from the Columbia University Office of Undergraduate Admissions:

In response to continued disruptions to standardized testing availability due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Columbia is extending our test-optional policy for one year, effective for first-year applicants to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering for the fall of 2022. 

ACT and SAT test results will not be a required component for the first-year 2021-2022 application cycle, and students who are unable or choose not to submit test scores will not be at a disadvantage. We will continue to evaluate all submitted information within the holistic and contextual review process that considers individual circumstances shaping each applicant’s journey. The rigor of a student’s curriculum, their academic achievement, and their demonstrated intellectual curiosity will remain central to our review.  

For students who choose to submit testing, Columbia’s testing policies remain the same. We will accept SAT and ACT scores through November test dates for Early Decision applicants and scores through January 2022 for Regular Decision applicants. We will continue to accept self-reported scores and only require official testing for enrolling students. If you were able to take an exam more than once, you will be evaluated on the highest score you received in any individual section of that test. Please note that we are aware that many students, if able to test, will only be able to take a test once. As noted above, that context will be taken into consideration should scores be provided. Applicants will not have an advantage in the admissions process by submitting ACT or SAT results. Standardized testing is only one component in a highly contextualized, multi-layered holistic review.

International applicants and non-native speakers should refer to our English proficiency testing and international applicant requirements, which remain. Transfer applicants will still be expected to submit results from tests taken in past years. Transfers who have not previously tested will have this requirement waived for the 2021-2022 application cycle.   

Columbia will continue to follow the guidelines and policies of the Ivy League in regard to testing requirements for applicants who expect to participate in Columbia’s varsity athletic program.  Testing requirements for student-athletes entering in the Fall of 2022 have yet to be determined.

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