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 College50%990-117019-26Flexible
Allegheny College64%1120-134024-30Optional
American University32%1220-138027-31Optional
Assumption College79%1070-125023-28Optional
Augustana College59%1100-134023-28Flexible
Austin College55%1130-133022-27Flexible
Ball State University62%1030-118020-24Optional
Bard College58%1140-137028-31Optional
Bates College22%1270-145029-32Optional
Beloit College54%1040-131024-30Optional
Bennington College57%1210-139027-31Optional
Birmingham-Southern College62%1030-126023-29Flexible
Boston University22%1300-148028-32SAT or ACT (optional for College of Fine Arts)
Bowdoin College10%1300-151030-34Optional
Brandeis University31%1280-150029-33Flexible
Bridgewater State University80%980-116019-24Flexible
Bryant University73%1120-128024-29Flexible
Bryn Mawr College34%1300-150028-33Optional
Catawba College52%910-114018-24Flexible
Catholic University of America83%1120-132023-29Optional
Champlain College75%1090-130023-29Optional
Chatham University55%1040-125021-26Flexible
Christopher Newport University72%1130-130023-29Conditional
Clark University59%1200-139028-31Optional
Colby College16%1340-150031-33Optional
College of Idaho76%870-132021-27Flexible
College of the Atlantic68%1190-135026-30Optional
College of the Holy Cross38%1280-142028-32Optional
Colorado College15%1300-147029-33Flexible
Columbia College Chicago92%1030-126020-26Optional
Connecticut College38%1290-143030-32Optional
Cornell College61%1080-132023-30Flexible
Curry College90%930-110018-23Optional except for Nursing or Education
Denison University37%1200-138028-31Optional
DePaul University68%1080-129021-27Optional
Dickinson College49%1200-139027-31Optional
Drake University68%1140-136024-30Conditional
Drew University69%1110-131025-30Optional
Drexel University79%1160-135024-30Flexible except for accelerated degree applicants
Duquesne University72%1120-127024-29SAT or ACT (conditional for Business, Liberal Arts and Music)
Earlham College54%1160-138026-31Optional
Elmira College85%1040-120023-26Optional
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University75%1080-132022-28Optional
Emerson College46%1200-136026-30Flexible
Emmanuel College - MA73%1160-131024-29Optional
Endicott College81%1050-121022-26Optional for most majors
Fairfield University60%1190-134026-30Optional
Fitchburg State University80%970-114019-21Flexible
Flagler College57%950-116021-26Optional
Framingham State University68%950-113019-23Optional
Franklin and Marshall34%1260-142028-32Optional
Furman University61%1190-138026-31Optional
George Mason University81%1120-132024-30Conditional
George Washington University41%1280-144029-32Optional
Gettysburg College46%1270-141026-30Optional (required for merit aid)
Goucher College80%1040-129022-29Optional
Guilford College91%900-115019-25Flexible
Gustavus Adolphus College71%1110-134024-30Optional
Hamilton College21%1370-149031-34Flexible
Hampshire College64%1200-143025-30Blind
Hampton University36%980-112020-24Conditional
Hanover College84%1070-126022-27Flexible
Hartwick College89%930-110032-34Optional except for nursing
High Point University81%1050-124021-27Optional unless applying for honors program or presidential scholarships
Hobart and William Smith Colleges61%1210-136027-31Optional
Hofstra University63%1150-133024-30Optional
Ithaca College69%1160-134025-30Optional
James Madison University75%1100-126023-28Optional
Juniata College71%1080-129022-29Optional
Kalamazoo College73%1180-138026-30Optional
Knox College72%1140-137023-30Optional
La Salle University79%980-117019-26Flexible
Lake Forest College53%1180-136024-29Flexible
Lawrence University62%1210-145027-31Optional
Le Moyne College64%1080-124022-27Optional
Lewis and Clark College74%1230-139027-31Flexible
Loyola University Maryland79%1140-132025-30Flexible
Lynn University85%960-113019-24Optional except for nursing
Manhattanville College82%910-129017-27Optional
Marist College43%1140-132024-29Optional
Marlboro College97%1150-134024-32Optional
Marymount California University83%860-104016-23Optional (required for merit scholarship)
McDaniel College85%1060-123021-28Conditional
Merrimack College82%1010-119020-24Optional
Middlebury College17%1340-151031-34Flexible
Mills College86%1010-124021-29Optional
Mount Holyoke College51%1290-150029-32Optional
Muhlenberg College48%1140-134025-30Flexible
New York University21%1290-149029-33Flexible
Northern Arizona University81%1030-123020-25Optional (required for scholarships)
Ohio Wesleyan University71%1060-126022-28Conditional
Old Dominion University87%990-120018-24Conditional
Pacific Lutheran University75%1040-127021-27Optional
Pitzer College13%1340-149030-33Optional
Providence College52%1160-133026-30Optional
Quinnipiac University74%1080-126023-27Optional for some schools
Radford University75%940-113017-23Conditional
Rider University67%990-119019-26Optional
Roanoke College67%1150-127022-27Flexible
Roger Williams University82%1090-126024-28Optional
Rollins College67%1150-136024-30Optional
Rowan University59%1040-125022-27Conditional
Sacred Heart University60%1060-120023-27Optional
Saint Anselm77%1120-131024-29Optional except for nursing and homeschooled applicants
Saint Johns College - MD55%1280-145026-32Optional (unless home schooled)
Saint Johns College - NM63%1190-135023-32Optional (unless home schooled)
Saint Johns University - NY68%1060-125022-29Optional
Saint Josephs University77%1110-129023-28Optional
Saint Marys College78%1030-125023-29Flexible
Saint Michaels College85%1150-131025-29Optional
Salem State University82%980-115019-23Conditional
Salisbury University65%1100-126020-25Conditional
Salve Regina University72%1080-123023-27Optional except for Nursing and Education majors
Sarah Lawrence College53%1240-141027-31Optional
Sewanee: The University of the South65%1200-139025-31Optional
Siena College67%1070-127022-28Conditional
Skidmore College27%1250-138027-31Optional
Smith College31%1340-152031-34Optional
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%1110-129023-29Optional
Stevens Institute of Technology44%1320-147029-33SAT or ACT (optional for Musical or Visual Arts and Technology applicants submitting a digital portfolio)
Stonehill College70%1130-130024-29Optional
Susquehanna University68%1080-124022-28Optional
Temple University57%1130-131024-29Flexible
The New School - Eugene Lang84%1090-134024-29Optional
The New School - Parsons School of Design51%1090-133021-28Optional
Transylvania University95%1180-136025-30Flexible
Trinity College34%1260-142027-31Optional
Union College37%1270-143029-32Optional
University of Arizona84%1100-134021-28Optional unless applying for merit scholarships, the honors college, nursing or engineering
University of Chicago7%1460-155032-35Optional
University of Delaware60%1150-133025-29Optional for residents
University of Hartford81%1030-123021-27Optional unless home schooled or seeking scholarships/honors program admission
University of Mary Washington72%1050-127022-29Optional
University of Massachusetts - Boston75%1000-120021-26Optional
University of Massachusetts - Lowell69%1130-131024-29Conditional
University of Puget Sound88%1130-135025-30Flexible
University of Rochester35%1250-149029-33Flexible
University of Scranton73%1120-128023-28Flexible
Ursinus College78%1110-131024-30Optional
Virginia Commonwealth University77%1070-125021-28Conditional
Wagner College70%1070-125023-30Optional
Wake Forest University28%1260-144028-32Optional
Washington and Jefferson College82%1130-132023-29Optional
Washington College74%1080-127022-29Conditional
Webb Institute35%1440-154030-34SAT or ACT; two subject tests optional (Math I/II, Physics/Chemistry)
Wesleyan University17%1320-150030-34Optional
Western New England University81%980-118021-27Optional
Wheaton College - MA70%1180-135027-31Optional
Whitman College50%1280-144029-32Optional
Whittier College74%1010-122021-27Conditional
Whitworth University89%1090-131023-29Conditional
Willamette University84%1170-135025-30Optional
Wittenberg University74%1070-127022-28Optional
Wofford College69%1130-131024-30Optional
Woodbury University62%960-119019-24Optional
Worcester Polytechnic Institute42%1300-146029-33Optional
Worcester State University76%980-117020-25Optional