29 June 2018

The Many Flavors of Test-Optional College Admissions

Posted in Your College List, Class of 2023, Perspectives

testbrokenpencilDo your SAT and ACT scores fully reflect your academic ability?

Many prominent colleges have moved to "test-optional" admissions in recent years to give applicants the opportunity to exclude standardized test scores from consideration if desired. This is a good thing!

But what exactly does "test-optional" mean? Unfortunately, it differs by school, and often there are strings attached.

Click on Continue Reading to see our list of test-optional schools and the type of test-optional policy they employ.  For your convenience, we've included admit rates, test score ranges and links to each school's standardized test policy to help you find suitable candidates for your college list.

 


 

More and more schools are adopting test-optional admission policies to give applicants the option to exclude SAT and ACT scores from consideration.  And while "test-optional" always means you don't have to include your test scores, it often also comes with strings attached.

In looking at the policies of the schools in our coverage universe, there are four flavors of "test-optional:"

  • Test-Optional. Schools that fall into this category mean what they say: you can opt to exclude standardized test scores from consideration as part of your application, no strings attached.  Of course, if you want your test scores considered they'll take them as well. Examples of schools in this category include: Bates, Bowdoin, George WashingtonPitzer and Wesleyan University.
  • Test-Blind. "Test-Blind" schools never consider standardized test scores as part of your application. So even if you have great SAT/ACT scores you'd like to submit, they'll be ignored.  We are aware of one school that has adopted a test-blind policy: Hampshire College.
  • Test-Flexible. Schools that fall in the "test-flexible" category allow you to substitute your standardized test scores with other credentials, such as SAT II subject tests, graded writing samples or advanced placement test scores.  So while you can exclude your SAT or ACT scores, you'll need to provide something else to help them gauge your academic ability and potential. Test-flexible policies vary widely, so it's important to pay close attention to the details.  Schools in this category include: Brandeis, Colby, Franklin & Marshall, Hamilton, and NYU.
  • Test-Conditional. Schools in this category will waive the need for standardized test scores if certain minimum conditions are met.  These conditions typically include GPA and/or class rank cutoffs. An example of a school with a conditional policy is Hampton University.

 


Colleges with Test-Optional Policies

Class of 2022 Edition

College Kickstart LLC 

InstitutionAdmit RateSAT Mid 50%ACT Mid 50%Test PolicyDetails
Agnes Scott College70%1110-130023-29Flexible
Albright College62%1020-120020-24Optional
Allegheny College64%1120-134024-30Optional
American University32%1220-138027-31Optional
Assumption College81%1090-124024-28Optional
Augustana College64%1070-128022-29Conditional
Austin College55%1130-133022-27Flexible
Ball State University65%1070-123020-24Optional
Bard College65%1290-143027-31Optional
Bates College12%1360-151031-33Optional
Beloit College56%1120-136021-29Optional
Bennington College57%1230-139028-32Optional
Biola University87%1060-126021-27Optional on a case-by-case basis
Birmingham-Southern College57%1040-125022-28Flexible
Boston University19%1330-150030-33SAT or ACT (optional for College of Fine Arts)
Bowdoin College10%1300-151030-34Optional
Brandeis University31%1280-150029-33Flexible
Bridgewater State University90%990-115019-25Optional
Bryant University76%1130-130024-28Flexible
Bryn Mawr College34%1320-148028-33Optional
Bucknell University33%1260-142027-32Optional
Catawba College52%910-114018-24Flexible
Catholic University of America84%1140-132024-30Optional
Champlain College75%1090-128022-28Optional
Chatham University55%1040-125021-26Flexible
Christopher Newport University68%1110-128023-28Conditional
Clark University59%1200-139028-31Optional
Colby College13%1350-151031-33Optional
College of Idaho49%1030-121021-27Flexible
College of the Atlantic67%1210-140030-33Optional
College of the Holy Cross38%1280-142028-32Optional
Colorado College14%1300-147029-33Optional
Columbia College Chicago87%1030-126020-26Optional
Connecticut College38%1290-143030-32Optional
Cornell College61%1080-132023-30Flexible
Curry College93%940-111017-22Optional except for Nursing or Education
Denison University34%1210-138028-31Optional
DePaul University68%1080-129021-27Optional
DePauw University63%1120-134023-29Optional
Dickinson College49%1200-139027-31Optional
Dillard University41%790-103018-21Conditional
Dominican University of California87%1040-121020-25Optional unless Nursing major
Drake University68%1140-136024-30Conditional
Drew University69%1110-131025-30Optional
Drexel University77%1190-136025-30Flexible except for accelerated degree applicants
Duquesne University72%1140-128024-29SAT or ACT (conditional for Business, Liberal Arts and Music)
Earlham College54%1160-138026-31Optional
Elmira College84%1070-121022-26Optional
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University65%1110-132022-29Optional
Emerson College36%1200-139027-31Flexible
Emmanuel College - MA77%1100-128024-27Optional
Endicott College80%1070-124022-26Optional for most majors
Fairfield University60%1210-133026-30Optional
Fairleigh Dickinson University - Florham84%1030-121021-26Conditional except Nursing, pharmacy, and education majors
Fairleigh Dickinson University - Metropolitan88%1000-120020-25Conditional except Nursing, pharmacy, and education majors
Fitchburg State University87%1000-115019-25Flexible
Flagler College57%1030-122020-26Optional
Framingham State University73%960-113018-23Optional unless pursuing a major in the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics or an honors program
Franklin and Marshall35%1260-144028-32Optional
Furman University61%1230-141028-32Optional
George Mason University81%1120-132024-30Conditional
George Washington University42%1280-146029-32Optional
Gettysburg College45%1280-142026-30Optional (required for merit aid)
Goucher College80%1040-129022-29Optional
Guilford College64%910-118017-24Flexible
Gustavus Adolphus College66%1110-134024-30Optional
Hamilton College21%1370-149031-34Flexible
Hampshire College63%1200-143025-30Blind
Hampton University36%1040-131019-24Conditional
Hanover College79%1040-126022-27Flexible
Hartwick College80%1040-119021-26Optional except for nursing
Hendrix College74%1160-139026-32Optional
High Point University77%1090-125022-27Optional unless applying for honors program or presidential scholarships
Hobart and William Smith Colleges57%1200-136027-30Optional
Hofstra University63%1150-133024-30Optional
Iona College88%990-117020-26Optional
Ithaca College69%1160-134025-30Optional
James Madison University71%1120-129023-28Optional
Juniata College70%1080-132027-32Optional
Kalamazoo College73%1140-137024-31Optional
Keene State College81%960-114018-24Optional
Knox College74%1090-135023-31Optional
La Salle University81%970-116018-26Flexible
Lake Forest College58%1140-136023-29Flexible
Lawrence University62%1210-145027-31Optional
Le Moyne College69%1080-127023-28Optional
Lewis and Clark College74%1230-139027-31Flexible
Linfield College80%1000-119020-25Conditional
Loyola University Maryland79%1140-132025-30Flexible
Lycoming College66%1010-120019-24Flexible
Lynn University70%990-117020-23Optional except for nursing
Manhattanville College90%1030-118021-25Optional
Marist College46%1150-132024-29Optional
Marlboro College92%1060-136027-33Blind
Marquette University82%1160-132024-30Optional
Marymount California University85%940-120017-25Optional (required for merit scholarship)
McDaniel College64%1050-123021-27Optional
Menlo College43%1090-124018-25Optional
Merrimack College83%1010-119020-24Optional except for Nursing applicants
Mills College86%1010-124021-29Optional
Montclair State University71%990-117019-24Optional
Mount Holyoke College38%1280-149029-32Optional
Mount St. Marys University - MD68%1000-121019-25Optional
Muhlenberg College62%1170-136026-30Optional
Nazareth College64%1090-127023-28Optional
New York University15%1310-151029-34Flexible
Ohio Wesleyan University69%1060-130022-28Conditional
Old Dominion University87%990-120018-24Conditional
Pace University76%1060-122022-27Optional
Pacific Lutheran University80%1070-127020-28Optional
Pitzer College13%1340-149030-33Optional
Providence College49%1210-136026-30Optional
Queens University of Charlotte79%1030-122021-26Optional
Quinnipiac University72%1090-126023-28Optional for some schools
Radford University75%940-113017-23Conditional
Rhode Island School of Design24%1180-144026-32Optional
Rider University70%1000-119020-25Optional
Roanoke College72%1150-127022-27Flexible
Rochester Institute of Technology66%1200-140026-32SAT or ACT (optional for College of Liberal Arts)
Roger Williams University86%1090-125023-27Optional
Rollins College67%1150-136024-30Optional
Rowan University73%1010-123020-27Conditional
Sacred Heart University60%1100-124023-27Optional
Saint Anselm77%1120-131024-29Optional except for nursing and homeschooled applicants
Saint Johns College - MD58%1200-146024-33Optional (unless home schooled)
Saint Johns College - NM67%1200-141024-30Optional (unless home schooled)
Saint Johns University - NY73%1070-127023-29Flexible
Saint Josephs University76%1120-129023-29Optional
Saint Marys College82%1050-126022-28Conditional
Saint Michaels College83%1140-132025-29Optional
Salem State University82%980-115019-23Conditional
Salisbury University62%1150-128020-25Conditional
Salve Regina University76%1090-125024-28Optional except for Nursing and Education majors
Sarah Lawrence College56%1240-142027-32Optional
Sewanee: The University of the South65%1250-139025-31Optional
Siena College67%1070-127022-28Conditional
Skidmore College27%1250-138027-31Optional
Smith College31%1340-152031-34Optional
Southwestern University45%1130-133023-29Conditional
Spring Hill College66%1020-119020-25Optional
Springfield College63%1050-124022-27Optional for most majors
St. Lawrence University46%1180-135026-30Optional
State University of New York - Potsdam64%1040-123021-28Optional
State University of New York - Purchase42%1060-127021-28Optional
Stetson University68%1120-130023-29Optional
Stevens Institute of Technology41%1330-148030-33SAT or ACT (optional for Musical or Visual Arts and Technology applicants submitting a digital portfolio)
Stonehill College70%1130-130024-29Optional
Susquehanna University72%1100-126022-28Optional
Temple University59%1140-132024-30Flexible
The New School - Eugene Lang78%1150-135026-31Optional
The New School - Parsons School of Design45%1160-137024-29Optional
Transylvania University89%1100-131024-30Flexible
Trinity College34%1300-146029-32Optional
Union College39%1270-143028-32Optional
University of Arizona84%1070-131021-28Optional unless applying for merit scholarships, the honors college, nursing or engineering
University of Chicago6%1490-156033-35Optional
University of Delaware62%1170-135025-30Optional for residents
University of Denver56%1170-137026-31Optional
University of Hartford75%1050-125022-28Optional unless home schooled or seeking scholarships/honors program admission
University of Mary Washington72%1050-127022-29Optional
University of Massachusetts - Boston78%1020-122021-27Optional
University of Massachusetts - Lowell72%1150-132024-29Conditional
University of Miami32%1250-143029-32SAT or ACT (self-reported); optional for Music and Architecture applicants
University of New England80%1050-124020-26Optional with some exceptions
University of Puget Sound88%1130-135025-30Flexible
University of Rochester31%1340-150029-34Flexible
University of Saint Thomas - TX82%1060-125022-25Flexible
University of Scranton73%1120-128023-28Flexible
Ursinus College71%1140-132023-28Optional
Utica College84%1030-122020-26Optional (unless applying to Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Nursing, Joint Health Professions Programs, HEOP or for academic achievement awards)
Virginia Commonwealth University77%1070-125021-28Conditional
Wagner College70%1070-127022-28Optional
Wake Forest University29%1310-147029-33Optional
Washington and Jefferson College82%1130-132023-29Optional
Washington College74%1080-127022-29Conditional
Webb Institute33%1400-155030-34SAT or ACT; two subject tests optional (Math I/II, Physics/Chemistry)
Wesleyan University17%1320-150030-34Optional
Western New England University85%1060-125022-27Conditional
Wheaton College - MA70%1180-135027-31Optional
Whitman College50%1280-144029-32Optional
Whittier College76%1030-121020-25Conditional
Whitworth University91%1090-129021-28Conditional
Willamette University84%1170-135025-30Optional
Wittenberg University74%1070-127022-28Optional
Wofford College64%1180-134027-30Optional
Woodbury University66%940-113019-24Optional
Worcester Polytechnic Institute42%1300-146029-33Optional
Worcester State University78%1010-119022-26Optional
Xavier University74%1110-128022-28Optional