Test-optional and test-blind admissions have been on the rise since 2020. Some test-optional and test-blind colleges plan to make this change permanent. Other schools are transitioning back to their old standards. This is why it’s important to remain aware of admissions trends and what colleges are extending test-optional policies.
In this article, we will review the differences between test-optional colleges and test-blind colleges. We will also discuss some of the pros and cons of applying to test-optional colleges, as well as provide a comprehensive list of test-blind colleges. Not only will this help you stay organized during the college application process, but it will also help you clarify your standardized testing plans as you prepare for college application season.
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Test-blind vs. test-optional
What is test-optional admissions and how is it different from test-blind admissions?
Test-optional colleges do not require students to submit standardized test scores. That said, if a student chooses to include their SAT and/or ACT scores, the college will consider their scores. It won’t be a key admissions factor, but it will still play a role.
For example, if a college is trying to decide between two comparable applicants, but one student submitted impressive test scores and the other didn’t, the student who submitted test scores will likely gain admission over the other student.
So how is this different from test-blind colleges? Test-blind universities do not allow students to submit their test scores. Therefore, test scores do not play a role in the college’s decision-making process.
In short, the key difference between test-optional admissions and test-blind admissions is that test-optional colleges will consider test scores if submitted, whereas test-blind colleges will not even look at test scores.
What to consider when applying test-blind
Since the rise of test-optional admissions standards, many students have found themselves wondering, does test-optional hurt your chances? The answer to this question is fairly nuanced.
Test-blind colleges will never look at an applicant’s test scores. Test-optional colleges, however, will consider them if submitted. Therefore, submitting standardized test scores to a test-optional college may grant your application a competitive edge. Again, this is not the case for test-blind schools.
If you apply to colleges without test scores, it’s important to realize that the rest of your college application takes on more importance. Chiefly your high school GPA and evidence of course rigor. These are two of the most important factors that college admissions officers look for in an applicant.
List of test-blind colleges 2023
Below is a list of test-blind schools for 2023. Some of the best test-blind colleges include California Institute of Technology, Pitzer College, University of California (Berkeley), University of California (Los Angeles), and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
|College||Location||Undergrad population||Testing policy||Acceptance rate||US News ranking|
|California Institute of Technology||Pasadena, CA||987||Test-blind through Fall 2023||4%||#9 in National Universities|
|California State Maritime Academy (CSU)||Vallejo, CA||907||Test-blind through 2022-23||82%||#3 in Regional Colleges West|
|Cal Poly Pomona (CSU)||Pomona, CA||26,974||Test-blind through 2022-23||61%||#14 in Regional Universities West (tie)|
|Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (CSU)||San Luis Obispo, CA||21,093||Test-blind through Fall 2022||33%||#2 in Regional Universities West|
|Cal State Bakersfield||Bakersfield, CA||9,367||Test-blind through 2022-23||85%||#60 in Regional Universities West (tie)|
|Cal State Channel Islands||Camarillo, CA||6,947||Test-blind through 2022-23||79%||#28 in Regional Universities West (tie)|
|Cal State Chico||Chico, CA||14,406||Test-blind through 2022-23||85%||#26 in Regional Universities West (tie)|
|Cal State Dominguez Hills||Carson, CA||15,070||Test-blind through 2022-23||90%||#56 in Regional Universities West|
|Cal State East Bay||Hayward, CA||12,462||Test-blind through 2022-23||73%||#331-440 in National Universities|
|Cal State Fresno||Fresno, CA||21,776||Test-blind through 2022-23||97%||#250 in National Universities (tie)|
|Cal State Fullerton||Fullerton, CA||35,401||Test-blind through 2022-23||59%||#166 in National Universities (tie)|
|Cal State Long Beach||Long Beach, CA||33,605||Test blind through 2022-23||47%||#137 in National Universities (tie)|
|Cal State Los Angeles||Los Angeles, CA||23,484||Test-blind through 2022-23||91%||#24 in Regional Universities West|
|Cal State Monterey Bay||Seaside, CA||6,693||Test-blind through 2022-23||93%||#22 in Regional Universities West|
|Cal State Northridge||Northridge, CA||34,275||Test-blind through 2022-23||73%||#32 in Regional Universities West (tie)|
|Cal State Sacramento||Sacramento, CA||28,904||Test-blind through 2022-23||94%||#38 in Regional Universities West|
|Cal State San Bernardino||San Bernardino, CA||16,704||Test-blind through 2022-23||91%||#194 in National Universities (tie)|
|Cal State San Marcos (CSU)||San Marcos, CA||13,865||Test-blind through 2022-23||93%||#39 in Regional Universities West (tie)|
|Cal State Stanislaus (CSU)||Turlock, CA||9,198||Test-blind through 2022-23||95%||#25 in Regional Universities West|
|City College of New York (CUNY)||New York, NY||12,364||Test-blind through Spring 2023||60%||#151 in National Universities (tie)|
|Dickinson College||Carlisle, PA||2,173||Test-blind through 2023||48%||#51 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie)|
|Hampshire College||Amherst, MA||472||Permanently test-blind||75%||#120 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie)|
|Humboldt State University (CSU)||Arcata, CA||5,201||Test-blind through 2022-23||91%||#32 in Regional Universities West (tie)|
|Loyola University New Orleans||New Orleans, LA||3,365||Permanently test-blind||78%||#202 in National Universities (tie)|
|Northern Illinois University||Dekalb, IL||11,834||Permanently test-blind||70%||#331-440 in National Universities|
|Northern Michigan University||Marquette, MI||6,611||Permanently test-blind||71%||#82 in Regional Universities Midwest (tie)|
|Pitzer College||Claremont, CA||1,185||Test-blind through 2025||18%||#33 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie)|
|Reed College||Portland, OR||1,366||Test-blind through Fall 2022||42%||#72 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie)|
|San Diego State University (CSU)||San Diego, CA||30,865||Test-blind through 2022-23||38%||#151 in National Universities (tie)|
|San Francisco State University||San Francisco, CA||27,179||Test-blind through 2022-23||93%||#234 in National Universities (tie)|
|San Jose State University (CSU)||San Jose, CA||28,288||Test-blind through 2022-23||84%||#16 in Regional Universities West (tie)|
|Sonoma State University (CSU)||Rohnert Park, CA||6,587||Test-blind through 2022-23||94%||#35 in Regional Universities West (tie)|
|Stonehill College||Easton, MA||2,423||Test-blind through Fall 2022||72%||#89 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie)|
|University of California–Berkeley||Berkeley, CA||32,143||Test-blind through Fall 2024||15%||#20 in National Universities (tie)|
|University of California–Davis||Davis, CA||31,657||Test-blind through Fall 2024||49%||#38 in National Universities (tie)|
|University of California–Irvine||Irvine, CA||29,449||Test-blind through Fall 2024||29%||#34 in National Universities (tie)|
|University of California–Los Angeles||Los Angeles, CA||32,119||Test-blind through Fall 2024||11%||#20 in National Universities (tie)|
|University of California–Merced||Merced, CA||8,321||Test-blind through Fall 2024||87%||#97 in National Universities (tie)|
|University of California–Riverside||Riverside, CA||22,866||Test-blind through Fall 2024||66%||#89 in National Universities (tie)|
|University of California–San Diego||La Jolla, CA||33,343||Test-blind through Fall 2024||34%||#34 in National Universities (tie)|
|University of California–Santa Barbara||Santa Barbara, CA||23,091||Test-blind through Fall 2024||29%||#32 in National Universities (tie)|
|University of San Diego||La Jolla, CA||5,702||Test-blind through Fall 2024||53%||#97 in National Universities (tie)|
|Washington State University||Pullman, WA||24,278||Permanently test-blind||86%||#212 in National Universities (tie)|
|Worcester Polytechnic Institute||Worcester, MA||5,224||Permanently test-blind||60%||#67 in National Universities (tie)|
Why are so many colleges in California test-blind?
You may have noticed from the list above that most of the country’s test-blind colleges are located in California. Why is that?
After a 2020 ruling by an Alameda County Superior Court judge, the University of California suspended the use of standardized tests for admissions and scholarship decisions. According to the LA Times, Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman argued that “The barriers faced by students with disabilities have been greatly exacerbated by the COVID-19 epidemic, which has disrupted test-taking locations, closed schools and limited access to school counselors.” Three years later, the University of California and California State University remain test-blind.
Key takeaways and moving forward
There are plenty of options for test-optional colleges in 2023. That said, learning how to find the right college for you can be a difficult process, and it’s best to increase your options by taking the SAT and/or ACT. (Remember, even if you take the SAT and/or ACT, you do not necessarily need to submit your scores.)
If you suffer from test-taking anxiety, review our article on how to prepare for SAT or ACT test day. You’ll also want to review upcoming SAT and ACT test dates so you prepare and come up with an SAT study plan and schedule. Remember though, applying to test-blind and test-optional colleges is a great option for many students.
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