I saw this article pointing out how different college admissions used to be, pre World War II. Entrance exams are still used around the world today but it seems like no American universities give out their own exam anymore. When did this practice stop and why?
James B. Conant, a higher education reformer and president of Harvard University from 1933-1953, adopted the Scholastic Aptitude Test (now known simply as the SAT) for Harvard admissions in 1941. Harvard was one of the last selective Northeastern schools to drop its separate entrance examination— though it had used the SAT for evaluating scholarship applications since 1934, soon after Conant was installed.
An interesting read on changes in the college admissions process in the United States is The Scholastic Aptitude Test: Its Development and Introduction, 1900-1948, David R. Hubin's 1988 doctoral dissertation, which he has made freely available online. It describes the origin and criticisms of entrance exams, the post-World War I obsession with IQ, and manpower issues affecting grading and post-GI Bill admissions procesing among factors contributing to the rise of the SAT.