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    Top 15 Colleges and Universities That Do Not Require the SAT

    By Cece Gilmore

    Cece Gilmore is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cece earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was the education editor as well as a published staff reporter at Downtown Devil. Cece was also the co-host of her own radio show on Blaze Radio ASU.

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    Learn about our editorial policies

    Reviewed by Bill Jack

    Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

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    Updated: March 14th, 2024
    Top 15 Colleges and Universities That Do Not Require the SAT

    Many colleges and universities have switched to “test-optional admissions,” meaning that they do not require the SAT, ACT, or any other standardized testing for admission. So, what are the top colleges and universities that do not require the SAT? Read more below in our helpful guide to find out! 

    What does “test-optional” mean? 

    Test-optional means the school leaves it up to the student to decide if they want to submit standardized test scores with their application. Most test-optional colleges still encourage students to submit their SAT, ACT, or other scores. Therefore, a student who sends their SAT score might be able to strengthen their application by including high scores. However, at test-optional institutions, not submitting your SAT score will not hurt admission’s chances.

    What does “test-blind”or “test-refusal” mean?

    Colleges and universities that are test-blind do not accept standardized test scores from applicants. A growing number of individual colleges/universities as well as entire school systems are test-blind. Keep in mind that some schools have a temporary moratorium on submitting test scores which may or may not change.  

    Students who do not plan on submitting their test scores may have a preference for test-blind schools. That’s because at these schools, they will be on totally equal footing with other applicants in terms of tests. 

    At test-optional schools, on the other hand, students who submit stellar test scores may receive preference over applicants who don’t submit any scores. Keep in mind that this is not always the case; each school may have its own protocol surrounding ACT/SAT scores in its admissions office.

    If I have SAT scores, should I submit them?  

    If you do take the SAT, you are not required to submit it to a test-optional school. Therefore, there is no true harm in taking the SAT even if you are applying to only test-optional schools. This is because if you do submit a high SAT score, it might help your application. So, not submitting test scores will not hurt your application, but you may lose out on the opportunity to make your application stronger. In addition, some scholarships, including those offered by private organizations, may require SAT scores. 

    Related: How to improve your SAT score

    So, how do you know if you should submit your SAT score to a test optional school? 

    Submit SAT scores if:

    • Your SAT score is high or near the 75th percentile of admitted students to the school
    • Other aspects of your application are not that strong such as GPA, class rank, AP or IB test scores, etc.
    • The school recommends submitting your SAT score if you have them

    Do not submit SAT scores if: 

    • Your SAT score is low or below the 50th percentile of admitted students to the school

    Ultimately, you should submit your SAT score if you believe it is high enough to help you! If not, the beauty of test-optional schools is that you do not have to worry about not submitting your SAT score because it will not hurt your chances. 

    How this list of top colleges and universities that do not require the SAT was created

    The following list of top colleges and universities that do not require the SAT was created by using Scholarship360’s Top Colleges for Students in 2024 list. Most of the colleges and universities on this list are prestigious universities that have low acceptance rates. This list is in alphabetical order and in no way reflects preference or recommendation.

    Top 15 colleges and universities that do not require the SAT 

    Brown University

    Brown University is an Ivy League research university located in Providence, Rhode Island. Known for its strong computer science and medicine programs, Brown allows students to design their own majors

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: Extended through 2024
    • Acceptance rate: 6%

    Columbia University

    Columbia University is test-optional for applicants to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering. Columbia University is an Ivy League research university located in New York City, New York. A distinctive core curriculum, a highly sought-after literature department, and intimate learning environments makes Columbia a top choice for students who want to attend college in the Big Apple. 

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: Extended through 2024
    • Acceptance rate: 4%

    Cornell University

    Cornell University is an Ivy League research university located in Ithaca, New York. Engineering and hotel management programs are just a few of the many prestigious academic programs at Cornell. 

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: Extended through 2025
    • Acceptance rate: 9%

    Dartmouth College

    Dartmouth College is an Ivy League research university located in Hanover, New Hampshire. Competitive academics and small classes are both found on Dartmouth’s beautiful rural campus. 

    Note: Beginning with the class of 2029, Dartmouth University will once again require either the SAT or ACT for admission consideration. 

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: 2023
    • Acceptance rate: 6%

    Duke University

    Duke University is a private university located in Durham, North Carolina. With a stellar reputation for its academic programs, Duke also excels at high-level athletics. 

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: Extended through 2024
    • Acceptance rate: 6%

    Harvard University

    Harvard University is an Ivy League research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A leader in all academic subjects, Harvard is the most well-known university in the world. 

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: Extended through 2026
    • Acceptance rate: 4%

    Johns Hopkins University

    Johns Hopkins University is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. As one of the nation’s oldest research institutions, research is continuously conducted at Johns Hopkins. 

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: Extended through 2026
    • Acceptance rate: 8%

    Princeton University

    Princeton University is an Ivy League university located in Princeton, New Jersey. One of the oldest universities in the United States, Princeton is renowned for its emphasis on independent research.

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: Extended through 2025
    • Acceptance rate: 4%

    Rice University

    Rice University is a private research university located in Houston, Texas. Applied science and engineering programs are what Rice is most known for. 

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: Extended through 2024
    • Acceptance rate: 9%

    Stanford University

    Stanford University is a private research university in Stanford, California. In addition to being highly ranked for its law, medicine, and engineering programs, Stanford is also known for its education schools. 

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: Extended through 2025
    • Acceptance rate: 4%

    University of Chicago

    The University of Chicago is a private research university located in Chicago, Illinois. U of Chicago is well known for its ideal city location as well as its rigorous academics. 

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: Indefinitely 
    • Acceptance rate: 6%

    University of Michigan

    The University of Chicago is a private research university located in Chicago, Illinois. U of Chicago is well known for its ideal city location as well as its rigorous academics. 

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: Extended through 2024
    • Acceptance rate: 20%

    University of Pennsylvania

    The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. UPenn is known for its programs in business management, finance, and real estate. 

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: Extended through 2024
    • Acceptance rate: 6%

    Vanderbilt University

    Vanderbilt University is a private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee. Vandy offers advanced degrees in medicine, engineering, nursing, business, and much more. 

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: Extended through 2027
    • Acceptance rate: 7%

    Yale University

    Yale University is a private Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut. Known for its strong academics and intellectual professors, Yale also has an excellent drama program. 

    • Test optional: Yes
    • Test optional until: Extended through 2024
    • Acceptance rate: 5%

    If these top schools are not for you…

    This is a list of the 15 top schools that are currently test optional. However, there are hundreds of other colleges and universities that are also test optional. Therefore, be sure to review a larger list of test optional institutions to find your perfect fit!

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    Frequently asked questions about colleges and universities that do not require the SAT

    Do colleges that don’t require SAT scores have different admissions criteria?

    Yes. Each unique college sets its own admissions criteria. This may include a combination of factors such as high school grades, class rank, essays, and personal achievements.

    What is the difference between test-optional and test-blind?

    Test-optional colleges allow students to decide whether to submit standardized test scores. Meanwhile, test-blind colleges do not consider them at all. 

    Will not submitting SAT scores strengthen my application?

    For some students, not submitting SAT scores can alleviate stress and allow them to focus on other aspects of their application. For example, they may excel in other areas, such as GPA or extracurricular activities.

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