April 6, 2020


Dear Colleagues,

I write to let you know that the Office of Admission, after consulting the Faculty Committee on Admission and Financial Aid, and with its approval, will be making standardized testing optional for the coming 2021 admission cycle.

We did not arrive at this decision lightly; standardized testing has been an important ingredient of the admission process at Amherst for decades. Nevertheless, we felt that testing opportunities were likely to be at best uneven in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. Several of the standardized testing dates have already been postponed, and when – or if – they will take place remains uncertain.

Although the College has found standardized test scores useful for assembling a class, it is by no means the only metric by which applicants are assessed. Dean McGann is optimistic that we will continue to identify the most outstanding applicants from the pool, and the class of 2025 will be every bit as extraordinary and accomplished as those classes that have come before.

The College has not committed to any change in policy beyond this year, and the question of the role of standardized tests in future admission policy will be a focus of discussion when FCAFA reconvenes in the fall.

Many of you will no doubt have questions about the new policy and its possible implications, and I encourage you to contact either Dean McGann or me.

With my best wishes for your continued health in these difficult times, 

David S. Hall (on behalf of the Committee)
Paula R. and David J. Avenius 1941 Professor of Physics
Chair, Faculty Committee on Admission and Financial Aid

Committee Members: Rachel Chaffin ’20, Ilyssa Forman ’22, David Hall (Chair), Gail Holt (Dean of Financial Aid), Natalia Khodian ’20, Chris Kingston, Karu Kozuma (Chief Student Affairs Officer), Jen Manion, Matt McGann (Secretary; Dean of Admission and Financial Aid), Avery Saffold ’20, David Schneider, Cate Zolkos (Dean of Admission).