Yale to require all SAT scores

In a statement Thursday morning, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeff Brenzel said Yale will require applicants to send all their scores for the SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Tests, rejecting the the CollegeBoard’s new Score Choice option that would allow students to reveal only their best scores from individual exams.

Score Choice, which will first become available for the March SAT, has been a point of contention among Yale’s peer institutions. While Harvard University and the University of Chicago have said they will allow applicants to use Score Choice, Stanford and Cornell universities and the University of Pennsylvania have all said they will require students to send all their scores. Princeton University has not yet taken a stance on Score Choice.

In his statement, Brenzel said Yale’s decision is meant to create an equitable application process and prevent the unnecessary testing, strategizing and anxiety associated with the admissions process.

“We believe that our policy maintains a more level playing field for low-income students who cannot afford repeated testing or the expensive test preparation that often accompanies it,” Brenzel wrote. “We also hope that this policy will help to discourage excessive testing and help to simplify testing issues for all of our applicants.”

Yale requires all of its applicants to submit scores from either the SAT or ACT. Brenzel said Yale will also require applicants taking the ACT to submit all their score results.

Students who submit the SAT must also submit two SAT Subject Tests, and regardless of which test an applicant submits, the written portion is required.

One sitting for the SAT Reasoning Test costs $45, and each SAT Subject Test costs either $29 or $40.


  • George Patsourakos

    George Patsourakos
    Yale made the right decision in requiring applicants for admission to send all their scores for the SAT Reasoning Test and the SAT Subject Tests. This decision rejects the College Board's new Score Choice option that would have allowed students to send only their best scores from individual exams. Yale's decision will allow its admissions staff to have a better overall portrayal of an applicant's strengths and weaknesses. Consequently, the Yale admissions staff will be able to determine more objectively and more fairly if an applicant should be accepted!

  • Anonymous

    Good move: allowing "Score Choice" would encourage the wealthy to continually retake the test. That said, this probably confirms that Yale is already looking down upon ppl who apply having taken the SAT 4 or more times (which they probably should).

  • Recent Alum

    Horrible idea. Students who are willing to take the SAT multiple times (and who take various different SAT II's) show that they are determined to succeed. They shouldn't be penalized for being more diligent and determined. This is yet another policy where Yale's attempt to advantage low-income students ultimately harms the admissions process.

  • kid

    I am very glad to hear that Yale has made the correct decision with regard to Score Choice. The policy encourages overtesting and would unduly increase the stress of taking the exam, while providing less information to the admissions committee.

  • Anonymous

    While the SAT is not the perfect indicator the admissions team will be helped by this move.

  • Recent Alum

    Didn't Yale use to claim that they only looked at the highest score? I'm pretty sure they did when I was an undergrad. If this is still the case, this move is completely unjustifiable and seems to suggest that they have been dishonest about their policy.

  • Y'09

    @#3 Someone taking the SAT 2-3 times and significantly improving their score, that's one thing. Someone taking the SAT 4-5 times in multiple attempts to get the perfect score (and because they can afford to do so), that's another. By not allowing Score Choice, the Yale admissions staff can see the "full picture" of student's test-taking history, which makes it a much more even playing field than allowing wealthy students to take the SAT 4-5 times yet hide all but their best scores.

    @#6 For the SAT, the officers consider the highest score per section, even if they are on different test days. For the ACT, they look at the highest composite score. http://www.yale.edu/admit/faq/applying.html#4

    Obviously though, if someone takes the test twice within the space of 2 months and the score jumps 500 points or something, that would probably call for extra investigation.

  • wow

    GREAT MOVE. Finally some decency in the app process. To these so-called "Recent Alum" posting comments, are you serious?

    How does shelling out thousands on tutoring and retaking the SAT five times show determination? If anything it shows lack thereof. Be prepared the first time.

    Another good move would be to lower tuition.

  • Anonymous

    Did College Board just instate the Score Choice option to make more money? Because it certainly seems like it encourages kids to take the test more.

    And in response to #3- If you are determined to succeed but need to take the SAT more times than is reasonable in order to do so, it only shows that you have farther to go than people who took the SAT a normal number of times. There are better ways to demonstrate determination than a standardized test. Who would you rather see at Yale, a kid who spent all his time studying for and taking the SAT, or a kid who did, well, just about anything else?

  • Current Student

    I've heard that Yale only 'considers' the highest scores, but the admissions people probably 'look at' all of the scores

  • H.

    Don't lower income students have the option of paying a reduced fee for taking the SAT [one or multiple times]? In addition, many schools (both public and private) offer SAT preparation integrated into their curriculum, and have additional SAT prep classes offered as elective courses for free.

    I don't think the relationship between score choice and so called "wealthy" students has been investigated enough to establish the correlation that is being assumed by Yale's admissions office and everyone on this forum.

    In any event, it has been statistically shown that taking the SAT more than 2-3x actually ends up lowering your resulting score. Regardless of how much money you have to spend on preparation, you reach a plateau.

    Both policies do the same thing. Yale takes your highest scores from each section and puts them together, and Score Choice simply allows you to do that yourself. Unless Yale is dishonest about its own policy, what's the point in making a fuss over this?

  • Determined Yale Student

    @#3 Even if you're right about multiple SAT sittings showing a student's determination, then by Yale having all the scores sent, admissions officers can see exactly how determined the students are! Score Choice completely hides any measure of persistence, and by your logic actually hurts the student!!

  • been around long enough to see it all

    Let's think about this. Would you rather have a doctor who took his qualifying exams once or twice and passed, demonstrating sufficient skill to justify his degree, or one who needed to take them 4-5 times (or even more) before that occurred? At the very least, don't you deserve to know which doctors needed many attempts before demonstrating basic competency? Yale has every right to see the entire history of a prospective student's academic testing before accepting them. This does not stop anyone from retaking the test as many times as they please, but does contribute to the transparency and fairness of the process.