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UT Austin Reinstates Standardized Test Scores in Admissions

The University of Texas at Austin plans to return to its standardized testing score requirement.

“Our goals are to attract the best and brightest students and to make sure every student is successful once they are here,” said President Dr. Jay Hartzell. “Standardized scores combined with high school GPA support this goal by improving early identification of students who demonstrated the greatest academic achievement, the most potential, and those who can most benefit from support through our student success programs.”

Dr. Jay HartzellDr. Jay HartzellThe requirement will be applied during the fall 2025 semester application period, Aug. 1–Dec. 1, 2024. The move follows four years of test-optional undergraduate admissions at UT Austin, which suspended the standardized score requirement in the spring of 2020 due to limited testing availability during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our experience during the test-optional period reinforced that standardized testing is a valuable tool for deciding who is admitted and making sure those students are placed in majors that are the best fit,” said Hartzell. “Also, with an abundance of high school GPAs surrounding 4.0, especially among our auto-admits, an SAT or ACT score is a proven differentiator that is in each student’s and the university’s best interest.”

An estimated 73,000 students applied to the university in 2023 with about 90% of applicants took a standardized exam, according to data provided by the College Board, which administers the SAT. University data revealed that, on average, students who submitted standardized scores performed significantly better on those exams and in their first semester of college, relative to those who did not take the test or chose not to have their scores considered as part of a holistic review.

UT Austin is making further modifications to the application process, such as the introduction of a new “early action” program requiring application submission by Oct. 15, with a guaranteed decision communicated to applicants by Jan. 15. The university will also modify its required essay, reduce the number of short-answer responses, narrow the scope of letters of recommendation, and introduce a waitlist for students not automatically admitted.

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