Higher education institutions have their own complex formula to determine which students they accept. It’s not a one-size-fits-all process. One major determining factor, for decades, has been SATs or ACT scores. Now that’s going away. Many colleges are no longer requiring SAT or ACT scores.
At one time, these standardized test scores were considered to be the most important factor in admissions, but now there are well over 1,000 accredited colleges and universities not requiring an SAT or ACT test result as part of their admission process. The initial intent for colleges requiring SAT or ACT scores was to allow for an unbiased and standardized look at students across the nation. Over time, though, potential college students found themselves at a major disadvantage as some had test anxiety or didn’t have the means or access to testing.
As these issues continued to arise, colleges have begun changing their approach. Now, we are beginning to see numerous colleges de-emphasizing or eliminating altogether the need to see students test scores through new test-optional or test-flexible policies.
So, why do some colleges still require an SAT or ACT score? First off, both are entrance exams that many higher education institutions use to assess a potential students’ academic aptitude. These scores help administration make informed decisions.
College administrators have long felt that these exams are a solid indicator that a student is ready to tackle higher learning. They use the exam results along with a student’s GPA, high school transcripts, and any extracurricular activities the student may have been involved in to make their final decision.
So, maybe you are looking for a college that is a little more flexible on their entrance admissions. The following is a list of a dozen top colleges not requiring an SAT or ACT score.
Colleges No Longer Requiring SAT Or ACT Scores
Pitzer is a small liberal arts college is located just outside Los Angeles, California. It has not required SAT or ACT scores for almost twenty years. Although its approach to college admissions is not the norm, Pitzer is still considered highly ranked. They are also highly selective as to who gains access to their school.
Pitzer will still accept SAT scores for those who choose to send them along, but their focus remains on a potential student’s transcripts as well as how a student understands Pitzer’s core values.
Although New York University has a reputation of being a more rigid college, their testing policies are much more flexible when compared to other similarly sized schools. Make no mistake, they still do evaluate incoming students test scores, but they also allow a perspective student to substitute their SATs with other tests such as AP or IB results or even an IB diploma. If you’re looking for a college that doesn’t require SAT or ACT scores, NYU is one of the best.
Currently, Hampshire College is the only higher institution within the US that uses a test-blind policy. By that we mean not only is Hampshire a college not requiring potential students to send in SAT or ACT test scores, but they will also reject any test scores that are sent in. They even state on their website that “even if it’s a perfect score, it will not weigh into our assessment of the applicant.”
Instead, the tiny liberal arts school prefers to give a lot of emphasis on transcripts and extracurriculars. Personal essays are also weighed heavily.
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Located in Mount Vernon, Iowa, the institution only recently adopted their test-optional policy. Instead of requiring SAT or ACT scores, this college is now allowing potential students to send in a portfolio as part of the test-optional pilot program. In lieu of test scores, students can instead fill their portfolios with creative writing or photography that best demonstrates their talents.
This is an accredited online university dedicated to allowing access to higher education to all across the globe who want it. If not requiring students to submit an SAT or ACT, all of their courses are totally tuition-free.
They offer degrees that range from bachelor’s to master’s and because they are an online institution, potential students can pursue their degree at any time or place that suits them best.
GW finds itself located right in the heart of our nation’s capital. This is one of the very few private research universities that offers a test-optional policy for potential students. This policy has been in place since 2015 as they prefer to emphasize students’ performance in class versus requiring an SAT score.
If you love the outdoors, then Montana State University’s close location to Yellowstone National Park is going to be a major attraction. On top of that, the school’s flexible admissions policy of optional test scores makes MSU even more appealing.
To open the door even wider for potential students, the university requires students to either rank in the upper half of their graduating class or have a high school GPA of 2.5. If you’re looking for a college that doesn’t require SAT or ACT scores, but is still looking for high-performing students, Montana State may be the one.
The Colorado College is based out of Colorado Springs and offers potential incoming students a test-optional policy. But not requiring SAT or ACT test scores isn’t all they are known for.
Colorado College has what they call a “block plan”, which over 2,000 undergrads follow. The “block plan” means students take one class for three and a half weeks before they more on to another class.
Ithaca College is rich in history, having its origins way back in 1892. Since then, it has seen its small stature grow to a population of over 6,200 students that study across five schools and offer over 120 majors.
Located in Western New York, rather than requiring test scores Ithaca allows potential students to choose whether to send in their SAT or ACT scores or get the scores at the school.
10. Smith College
Smith College is one of our nation’s first all-women’s colleges. As a prestigious college, they are surprisingly adamant in telling applicants how important they consider factors besides test scores. Their website boasts, “We choose people, not statistical profiles.”
While Smith doesn’t require SAT or ACT test scores, the college still allows for applicants to turn in test scores. They are optional and admissions encourages scheduling an interview with the department.
Connecticut College, with their undergraduate enrollment of under 2,000, is another college not requiring an SAT or ACT score from applying students. Rather than a test score, Connecticut College encourages students to share materials or achievements that better represent who they are as students. They prefer to see academic success and potential.
If you are a student looking for your college experience to include a big city, then the University of Chicago is for you. The college is located in Chicago’s Hyde Park, surrounding it with everything the city of Chicago has to offer. To get in, the college has adopted a test-optional policy, so those who don’t wish to include an SAT or ACT, you won’t need to.
As we mentioned earlier, there are over a thousand colleges who are now test-optional or test-flexible. Here are a couple of additional schools following these policies: Bates College, Hofstra University, Wake Forest University, Middlebury College, Drexel University, American University, University of Texas – Austin, and Gettysburg College.
Whatever college you may be interested in, check first with their admissions policy to see if they require an SAT or ACT score.