Big Changes in SAT Subject Test Policies

Just like that, Harvard, Georgetown and a few other Universities changed the rules.  Until now, these schools had application policies that required all students to take and submit scores for three SAT Subject Tests (aka SAT II). 

Harvard will now require only two SAT Subject Tests for Fall 2011 class applicants. Georgetown went from requesting three Subject Test Scores to strongly recommending them.

When applying to schools, expert college counselors say, note the change in language. Universities used to require or request the submission of three SAT Subject Test scores as part of a complete application for admission. Now at many schools, like Georgetown, the language on the test policies has been changed to strongly recommended.

The testing policy at Stanford University states: “We recommend taking at least two SAT Subject Tests, as such information will assist us in our evaluation process. Applicants, however, who choose not to take SAT Subject Tests will not be at a disadvantage in the admission process.”

Of course, as expert college counselors know, the subtleties in language are important, especially at schools where admissions are highly competitive. 

International College Counselors note:  When a highly regarded university requires only two Subject Tests, our expert college counselors highly recommend you take more to make yourself the most highly qualified candidate.

According to the Harvard website, applicants may take any two subject tests.  But to meet these requirements students should not submit two Subject Tests in mathematics, and “candidates whose first language is not English should ordinarily not use a Subject Test in their first language…All students are encouraged to submit additional Subject Tests (which may include one in a student’s first language).”

Additionally, applicants are encouraged to show evidence of the “breadth and depth of their academic interests” by taking additional Subject Tests and to submit Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) test results that provide evidence of academic accomplishment.

Further complicating the evolving role of SAT Subject Tests, a few colleges, like NYU and Colby College, are allowing the Subject Tests and other standardized tests and/or AP and IB tests to be submitted instead of SAT and/or ACT scores.

The College Board currently offers SAT Subject Tests in 20 areas, including history, literature, mathematics, physics, chemistry and a variety of languages.

Charles Deacon, dean of undergraduate admissions at Georgetown, explained via e-mail for Inside Higher Ed: “Georgetown, like Harvard and other selective schools, finds SAT IIs to be quite predictive of academic success at a high school level and we feel they are a valuable addition to SAT Is or ACTs. However, we are aware that for a variety of reasons, students may find it difficult to submit these results so we want to make it clear that they can still apply and we will do our best to consider them fairly based upon the information they are able to provide.”

For the most accurate and current information on standardized test policies for each college, International College Counselors recommend that students visit individual college websites or contact us at 954-414-9986 or at

Come in for a free consultation with International College Counselors. Or get 5 friends together and we will come out and hold a private seminar just for you and your friends. Just call us at 954-414-9986 or contact us at I
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International College Counselors has college counseling Broward, Palm Beach, and Dade college counseling offices. International College Counselors handle undergraduate and graduate college admissions, financial aid, tuition, essays, and college applications. Mandee Heller Adler, lead college admissions consultant and Founder of International College Counselors in Miami, tailors her wide range of college counseling and college coaching services to address the goals, needs, and dreams of each individual student, whether Florida college or Ivy League university. Our college advisors, Miami Florida based, work with domestic and international students. We also work with high schools. Our college counselors are in Miami, Boca, Broward and Palm Beach. Let us help you make the best decisions choosing, getting into, and paying for college. Our offices will allow you to work with a Miami college counselor, Dade College Counselor, Broward college counselor, Palm Beach College Counselors, Boca College Counselor and/or a Ft. Lauderdale College Counselor.

Come in for a free consultation with International College Counselors. Or get 5 friends together and we will come out and hold a private seminar just for you and your friends. Just call us at 954-414-9986 or contact us at International College Counselors by email.

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