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Promoting Merit and Equal Opportunity in University Admissions

In recent months, Ivy League institutions such as Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania have been primarily distinguished for plagiarism scandals, failing to address antisemitism and other illiberalism. They have also been rebuked for admissions policies emphasizing applicants’ race rather than their qualifications.

The Supreme Court found in its decision on Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College that “The admissions programs at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.” Some universities are taking a different tack. Two weeks ago, Dartmouth reinstated SAT-testing requirements for admissions. Subsequently, MIT, Georgetown, and Yale followed suit, undoing a pandemic-era practice that removed standardized testing requirements for applicants to undergraduate programs in the name of “equity.”

Contrary to the arguments of anti-test advocates, standardized testing requirements level the playing field, providing marginalized applicants with a rare opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities. Citing recent research from Opportunity Insights, the New York Times concluded that standardized test scores are much more predictive of university performance than high school GPAs. Indeed, while admissions essays can be written by expensive tutors, high school grades inflated at elite prep schools, and extracurriculars exaggerated by consultants, while not perfect, the roughly three-hour ACT and SAT exams are the closest thing we have to a genuine assessment of applicants’ abilities and their likelihood of being able to do college-level work.

Read the full piece at PJ Media »