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Top Colleges That Don't Require SAT and ACT Scores

Updated: Apr 8

There are numerous US universities that do not require SAT scores for admission. Some notable examples include the Harvard University, Princeton University, Cornell University, University of Chicago, and the University of California system to name a few.

Here's a list:

Here is a list of US universities and colleges that DON'T require SAT scores for admission:

NO SAT/ACT required
Top College with NO SAT requirement

Ivy League Universities

- Columbia University

- Cornell University

- Harvard University

- University of Pennsylvania

- Princeton University

University of California (UC) System Schools

- UC Berkeley

- UC Davis

- UC Irvine

- UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles)

- UC Merced

- UC Riverside

- UC San Diego

- UC San Francisco

- UC Santa Barbara

- UC Santa Cruz

Other Colleges

- University of Chicago, IL

- Wake Forest University, NC

- New York University, NY

- Wesleyan University, CT

- Smith College, MA

- Bowdoin College, ME

- Bates College, ME

- George Washington University, DC

- Oregon State University, OR

- University of Oregon, OR

- Hampshire College, MA

- Colorado College, CO

- Pitzer College, CA

- University of Arizona, AZ

- University of Colorado Boulder, CO

- University of Illinois at Chicago, IL

- University of Iowa, IA

- University of Louisville, KY

- University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NE

This list is not exhaustive, and there are many other colleges and universities across the United States that have adopted test-optional policies for admission.

What does Test Optional mean?

A test-optional college is a university that allows students to apply for admission without submitting SAT or ACT scores. These colleges are beneficial for students who haven't taken these exams, as well as those who have taken them but didn't achieve high scores. Many colleges, including some of the Ivy League universities mentioned earlier, have adopted test-optional policies. It's essential to grasp the distinction between test-optional and test-blind policies.

NO SAT/ACT required Shivi
Test Optional

In a test-optional college, submitting SAT or ACT scores is not mandatory.

However, if you do submit them, the college will review and consider them as part of your application. This means that while these scores are not required, they can still potentially strengthen your application.

On the other hand, "test-blind" colleges do not consider standardized test scores at all during the admission process. This policy is quite rare, and only a few schools follow it. Notably, the University of California (UC) system, mentioned earlier, has recently shifted to a test-blind policy, making it one of the more prominent institutions to do so.

Should You Still Submit SAT or ACT Scores?

Taking a standardized test like the SAT or ACT gives students flexibility when applying to colleges, especially test-optional schools. Students can choose whether or not to submit their scores to these schools. If you've already taken or plan to take the SAT or ACT before college application deadlines, it's generally advisable to do so. Your scores might turn out higher than expected, and even if they don't, you're not obligated to submit them to test-optional colleges if you decide against it.

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Whether to submit SAT?

When deciding whether to submit your SAT or ACT scores, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. While opting not to submit scores won't harm your application, including strong test scores can strengthen it.

So, how do you decide whether to submit your scores? Here are some guidelines:

When to Submit Your Scores:

1. The school recommends submitting scores if possible.

2. You have strong test scores, ideally at or near the 75th percentile.

3. You lack other impressive test scores from exams like IB Tests or AP tests to include in your application.

When Not to Submit Your Scores:

1. Your test scores are low, below the 50th percentile.

2. You excel in other areas of your application such as extracurricular activities, class rank, or GPA, compensating for weaker test scores.

3. You have strong scores from other exams like IB Tests or AP tests that you plan to submit.

Ultimately, the decision to submit your SAT or ACT scores to test-optional colleges depends on your individual circumstances and the specific requirements or recommendations of each college you're applying to.

Need a Helping Hand?

Navigating the complexities of college admissions can be daunting. If you're seeking personalized guidance on whether to submit test scores or need assistance in crafting a standout application, our team of seasoned college counselors is here for you.

Schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our expert counselors today, and let us lend you our support on this exciting journey toward your dream college!

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