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Duke drops SAT essay, ACT writing score requirement for applicants

Duke will no longer require SAT essay or ACT writing scores from undergraduate applicants in an attempt to reduce barriers for students from low-income families and under-resourced schools, the school announced Friday.

This summer, Brown University, Princeton University and Stanford University dropped their SAT essay or ACT writing scores requirement. Like those schools, Duke will still require scores from the other sections of the SAT and ACT tests and recommends that applicants still send their SAT essay or ACT writing scores. 

"We will still pay careful attention to essay scores and what they represent for those students who submit them," said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag in a Duke Today release. “We also recognize that this part of the exam can represent more of a barrier for some students than others, and we want to give every student an opportunity to be fully considered in our application process.”

In the past few years, student activists have asked that the University drop the standardized testing requirement altogether. 

In the Fall of 2015, a group of students released "Demands of Black Voices" after a Black Lives Matter poster was vandalized with a racial slur. One of the demands was that "reporting of SAT/ACT scores on admissions applications must be optional."

Correction: This article was updated Friday afternoon to reflect that Princeton and Stanford have not dropped the standardized testing requirement completely. The Chronicle regrets the error.


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