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Brown to Reinstate Test Requirement, Retain Early Decision, Continue Legacy Preferences

Brown University plans to continue legacy preferences, retain its “early decision” admission option, and reinstate its college entrance exam requirement.

Brown President Dr. Christina H. Paxson recently accepted these recommendations from a committee that examined undergraduate admissions practices to ensure they uphold the university’s commitments to academic excellence, access, and diversity.

Dr. Christina H. PaxsonDr. Christina H. PaxsonIn a March 5, letter to the Brown campus, Paxson shared recommendations from the Ad Hoc Committee on Admissions Policies. For six months, the committee collected and analyzed data, reviewed comparative information, and met with colleagues who shared expertise and student leaders as it studied whether Brown should alter its current early decision policy. The committee also analyzed whether to reinstate the university’s standardized test score requirement (or sustain its interim “test-optional” policy) and modify existing preferences for applicants with family connections.

Following are the resulting policies:

· Brown will continue to offer its early decision option;

· The university will reinstate the requirement that applicants for first-year admission submit standardized tests scores (the SAT or ACT, except in the rare circumstance when these tests are not available to a student), for the 2025-26 academic year; and

· Legacy admissions practices for Brown applicants with family connections, including “legacies” and children of faculty and staff, will not change.

Regarding legacy preferences, the committee concluded in its summary report that it had too little information to come to a recommendation. It recommended that Brown continue to evaluate data on applicants with family connections and consider the questions and principles raised by the committee, with attention to the policies and practices that will best serve goals of academic excellence, equity, access, and diversity.

“I continue to be proud of Brown’s strong track record of national leadership in cultivating diversity and inclusion as core tenets for sustaining academic excellence,” said Paxson.

“I am committed to ensuring these values are reflected in the way we build our student body,” she continued. “The decisions we have reached regarding early decision and standardized test requirements remain true to these values, and continuing to examine family connections is the right decision for the complicated questions this issue raises for our community.”

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