Hotchkiss Will Require Standardized Testing Beginning in 2024-25 Admission Cycle

Head of School Craig Bradley announced today that The Hotchkiss School will return to requiring standardized testing beginning in the 2024-25 admission cycle. 

Hotchkiss became test-optional in 2020 on a temporary basis to mitigate concerns about the health and wellbeing of students as well as access to testing centers during the pandemic. 

As the conversation about standardized testing has evolved, we have pursued our own research to make an informed decision about the School’s testing policy going forward. This included working with Dr. Nathan Kuncel, professor in the Department of Psychology at University of Minnesota, to identify factors that will best predict how a prospective student is likely to perform academically at Hotchkiss. 

Our study included analyzing 1,498 applications of students in graduating classes of 2016 to 2026, focused on student GPA and SSAT scores. This analysis demonstrated that standardized test scores provide a valuable data point in predicting a student’s future GPA at Hotchkiss. 

This analysis has informed our decision to return to requiring standardized testing. In parallel, we are committed to a holistic review of every applicant. In fact, this research has amplified our appreciation of the fundamental importance of recommendations, interviews, and gauging character in our admission process. Accordingly, we will resist arbitrary cut-offs when reviewing standardized test scores. Instead, we will view testing results in conjunction with and in light of students’ background, school context, and preparation. 

Though we are confident in our decision to return to requiring standardized testing, we are acutely aware of the rising costs of taking these tests. We will allocate $10,000 per year over the next five years to support fee waivers for promising students from families who may not complete the application process due to financial constraints. Fee waiver information will be available after July 1, 2024. 

According to Erby Mitchell, assistant head of school, dean of admission and financial aid, “Our investment in young people of promise is more critical than ever. If we require testing, we must do all we can to make it more affordable for students to participate in our process. It is our goal, collaborating with the Enrollment Management Association, to provide another meaningful mechanism for schools to identify and enroll young people from under-resourced communities by putting more talented students into EMA’s Prospect Search Program.”

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