If test-taking isn’t your strong suit, have no fear! Below I have listed five prestigious colleges that do not require you to submit your standardized test scores as well as a comprehensive list of test-optional colleges.
PBS news wrote an article explaining the truth about SAT scores; they do not represent how smart a student is. Harvard, ABC, Quartz, and many other research teams over the last fifteen years have consistently come to the same conclusion. There is no clear correlation between what a student scores on the SAT or ACT and how well they perform when they get to college. Instead, these teams have found that GPA, course load, extracurriculars, and interview performance are much stronger indicators of a student’s academic capability. The following five colleges all adamantly agree with these findings, and therefore do not require most high school applicants to submit their standardized test scores.
1. The University of Chicago
USA Today College Ranking: 3
Undergraduate Student Body: 5,941
The University of Chicago will begin making SAT and ACT test scores optional with the class of 2023. According to USA today, University officials stated that this move will level the playing field for underprivileged and underrepresented minority groups. This change will be accompanied with automatic full-ride scholarships for students with parents making under $125,000 a year.
2. Wake Forest University
USA Today College Ranking: 27
Undergraduate Student Body: 4,995
Wake Forest made test scores optional in 2008 and has stuck with the policy ever since. The University prides itself on being one of the frontrunners in this initiative and has been pleased with the effect it has on applicants. As a result of the change to test optional, the university has seen a 54 percent increase in racial diversity.
3. George Washington University
USA Today College Ranking: 56
Undergraduate Student Body: 11,504
George Washington began their test-optional policy in 2015, after stating that the only clear correlation between an application and a student’s success in college was their coursework in high school. The University values the rigor of your schedule, number of AP or IB classes, and weighted GPA. If you are homeschooled, a recruited athlete, or are applying to their accelerated B.A./M.D. program, you must submit an ACT or SAT score.
4. Bowdoin College
USA Today College Ranking: 3 (Liberal Arts)
Undergraduate Student Body: 1,806
Bowdoin College is one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation and has been test optional since 1969. The college allows students to hide any part of the standardized tests and show others, in case you excel in one subject. Despite being test optional, only 30 percent of applicants in 2018 chose to completely hide their scores.
5. Smith College
USA Today College Ranking: 12 (Liberal Arts)
Undergraduate Student Body: 2,514
Smith College is an all female liberal arts school located in Northampton, Massachusetts. They have always been test optional for first year applicants as well as transfer students. If you are an international student or a non- U.S. citizen, you are required to submit an ACT or SAT score in addition to your PTE.
Here a more comprehensive list of test-optional colleges:
|College||Standardized testing policy|
|University of Chicago||Test-Optional|
|Loyola University (MD)||Can submit an additional teacher recommendation and/or personal essay instead of test scores|
|Mills College (CA)||Test-Optional|
|Stetson University (FL)||Test-Optional|
|Bowdoin College (ME)||Test-Optional|
|Ithaca College (NY)||Test-Optional|
|Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (FL)||Test-Optional|
|Smith College (MA)||Test-Optional|
|University of Mary Washington (VA)||First year applicants to the University of Mary Washington who maintain at least a 3.5 cumulative high school grade point average in a challenging course of study may request to be considered for admission to the university without standardized test scores.|
|Marymount California University (CA)||Recommends standardized testing (SAT, ACT and/or TOEFL). Required for merit scholarship consideration.|
|Wesleyan University (CT)||Test-Optional|
|Bates College (ME)||Test-Optional|
|Wake Forest University (NC)||Test-Optional|
|Bryn Mawr (PA)||Test-Optional|
|Pitzer College (CA)||Test-Optional|
|University of Rochester (NY)||A wide variety of test results can fulfill Rochester’s testing requirement, including SAT Reasoning exams, the ACT, two or more results from SAT Subject exams, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, GCE, SE, AS- and A-level exams (in UK and Commonwealth countries), Gao Kao (China)|
|Brandeis University (MA)||Brandeis has a test-optional policy and no longer requires citizens and permanent residents of the US or Canada to submit SAT or ACT scores.|
|Mount Holyoke College (MA)||Test-Optional. If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident and do not speak English as a first language, you may be asked to provide evidence of your fluency. One of our admission counselors will contact you if additional information is needed.|
|New York University (NY)||Text-flexible. You only have to submit results from one of the following:
SAT (essay test not required)
ACT (writing test not required)
Three SAT Subject Test scores
Three AP exam scores
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
Three IB higher-level exam scores if not an IB Diploma candidate
Nationally accredited exam that shows you completed your secondary education
|Skidmore College (NY)||Skidmore College is test-optional for most applicants. Students may submit either the SAT or ACT if they fee|
|Trinity College (CT)||As of fall 2015, Trinity College does not require the SAT or ACT for all students applying for admission, including transfer applicants.|
|Union College (NY)||Test-optional|
|Dickinson College (PA)||At Dickinson, submitting SAT I or ACT scores is optional for admission.|
|California State Univ. (CA)||SAT/ACT test scores aren’t required to establish the admission eligibility of California residents with a high school grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or above (nonresidents must have a GPA of 3.61 or above).|
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