There are colleges across the country that are changing their admissions policies because of the global pandemic. Luckily, most students out of high school, don’t have to pass standardized tests like the SAT and ACT to get into college. There was a vital pivot in the way students were learning through the pandemic and these ivy league colleges are sympathetic to that fact. 

Continue reading to learn the college admissions policy changes you might see and what they mean. As well as learning about the colleges that are on the list for extending their test-optional policy to get into their school. From the information that we’ve gathered, it sounds like test-optional is here to stay! That truly benefits students in many ways. 

What does test-optional mean?

When a college or university has a test-optional admissions policy it means that they allow all or some applicants to choose whether to submit their ACT or SAT scores. Colleges still are interested in seeing a student’s scores if applicable; however, it will not interfere with their acceptance to that particular college. 

If you are a student and you’ve taken the SAT or ACT, then you should consider including your scores because it will strengthen your college application.  

Test-optional colleges in 2022-2023

  • Amherst
  • Adelphi University 
  • Babson University
  • Barnard College
  • Baylor University 
  • Boston University
  • Bucknell University
  • Brown University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Colgate University 
  • Columbia University 
  • College of Charleston 
  • College of William & Mary 
  • Cornell University *through high school class of 2024*
  • Dartmouth College
  • Davidson College 
  • Drexel University
  • Elon University 
  • Hamilton College
  • Harvard University *through high school class of 2026*
  • Haverford College
  • Harvey Mudd
  • Indiana University – Bloomington
  • Johns Hopkins University *through high school class of 2026*
  • Oberlin College and Conservatory 
  • Oglethorpe University 
  • Lehigh University
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Northwestern University
  • Northeastern University *through high school class of 2026*
  • Middlebury College
  • Occidental College
  • Pepperdine University
  • Penn State University
  • Princeton University
  • Pomona College
  • Rhodes College 
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Northwestern University
  • Santa Clara University
  • St. Louis University 
  • Stanford University
  • Swarthmore College
  • The University of Notre Dame
  • Trinity University 
  • Tufts University (3-year pilot)
  • University of Alabama *through high school class of 2024*
  • University of Connecticut 
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Miami
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Vassar College
  • University of Vermont 
  • University of Virginia 
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison 
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Williams College 
  • Yale University

Test-optional FAQs

Which colleges don’t require the SAT or ACT?

The list of test-optional colleges is changing all the time, especially considering temporary policy changes in response to COVID-19. Always check directly with the college to confirm its policy, either by going to its website or calling its admissions office.

Should I still take the SAT?

The easy answer is yes. Most college admissions officers, including those at test-optional colleges, value the SAT as part of the admissions process. Even if you think standardized tests aren’t your biggest strength, there are some good reasons to take them.

You’ll keep your options open. Most colleges still accept test scores and must encourage them.  Remember: Your college list isn’t set in stone: you can change it at any time.

You’ll stand out among the applicants. If you get the score you hope for, and especially if it’s above average for the college, submitting your SAT score can help you in the admissions process. Even if your top choice is one of the rare test-flexible colleges, you should still take the SAT. You may find you’ll do better on it than you have on the AP Exams or other alternatives that the college considers. And keep in mind that colleges consider test scores in context. Even if your scores aren’t above average for the college, if they’re high for your school or neighborhood, they’ll help you make a great impression.

You could get more than just admission. At some colleges, the only criteria to be eligible for certain scholarships are a minimum SAT/ACT score and GPA. If you don’t take either of these tests, you take yourself out of the running for hundreds of thousands of dollars that could make college more affordable. 

A high SAT score can offset a low GPA. If you don’t take the SAT, colleges will have less information about your academic performance. If you have a low GPA but do well on the SAT, you’re letting colleges know you have the potential to succeed in college-level classes.

What if I’m not confident about taking the SAT?

We understand that not everyone feels great about taking tests, but there isn’t any downside to taking the SAT. If you don’t do as well as you want, the decision if and where to send your scores is completely up to you.

Remember, everyone’s situation is different, but we encourage you not to limit your choices. Give yourself every opportunity to succeed. Try taking the SAT. Join study groups or one of the many online practice tests that you can. It never hurts to try. 

Key takeaways on test-optional policies​

This pandemic has helped colleges turn over a new leaf in the application process where SAT and ACT scores are not required. However, they can still be very beneficial to your entrance into your dream college. Still remain to study hard and submit test scores if applicable. Read over updated lists on what colleges are and aren’t requiring the SAT or ACT test scores.