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College changes SAT requirements

Two subject tests, not three, will be required; and the SAT I changes

Dartmouth will reduce its required number of SAT II subject tests from three to two, and continue its existing requirement for the SAT I or ACT. The change, effective for the class entering in the fall of 2006, is in response to the College Board's plan to release a new SAT I, with greater emphasis on verbal skills, in March 2005.

"As we seek outstanding students from all parts of American society and the world, reducing the financial and time burdens of testing will serve to make a Dartmouth education more accessible to students of all economic circumstances."

- Karl Furstenburg

"The College Board's plan led us to reconsider our use of standardized tests for student selection," said Karl Furstenberg, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. Dartmouth has historically required the SAT I or ACT and three SAT II exams as part of its admissions process.

Furstenberg said the decision to change the requirements was based on several considerations, including access issues, the increasing pressure of the college admissions process on families, and Dartmouth admissions officials' judgment that reducing the test requirements will have no negative effect on the selection process.

"Equity and access to opportunity are important values that inform Dartmouth's admissions and financial aid processes," Furstenberg said. "Standardized testing may represent a potential obstacle in the admissions process for some students based upon socioeconomic background. As we seek outstanding students from all parts of American society and the world, reducing the financial and time burdens of testing will serve to make a Dartmouth education more accessible to students of all economic circumstances."

Noting that the selective college admissions process "has become exceedingly pressurized for students and their families," Furstenberg said, "A considerable amount of time and anxiety is expended on standardized testing. This change will slightly reduce the test-taking requirement and, we hope, the pressure associated with the testing process."

Over the last several months Dartmouth admissions officials have given careful consideration to the impact using two SAT II exams rather than three might have on the College's highly selective process and have concluded that the change in policy will not have an effect. The new structure of the SAT I, with two verbal sections (writing and reading) and one math section, will provide sufficient information, Furstenberg said.

"We are satisfied that the new SAT I along with two SAT II exams will provide us with information that will be equivalent to what we received with the current SAT I and three SAT II exams," he said. "As we pursue our holistic and individualized review of all applicants for admission, we are utilizing a broad array of measures, and we feel quite confident that we can continue to make well-informed admissions decisions with the new SAT I and two SAT II exams rather than three."

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Last Updated: 12/17/08