Over 800 schools have adopted a test optional policy. These schools do not require standardized test scores to make their admissions decision because they believe test scores are not necessarily representative of a student’s ability or academic potential.
However, there are exceptions. Applicants who are non-US citizens and applicants who are not permanent residents may still be required to submit standardized test scores in addition to TOEFL or IELTS results. Scores may also be required from students who are homeschooled and students who attend high schools that do not use a grading system.
Some schools that don’t require ACT and SAT scores may instead require students to submit other materials including Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) scores, SAT subject tests and/or graded papers. Make sure to check individual school requirements for their particular exceptions.
Schools that offer a test optional policy may place greater emphasis on other components of your application including:
- Your high school transcript
- An interview with an admissions rep
- A graded assignment from high school. Juniors and seniors— save high school work you’re proud of since your finished papers can play a very important role in your college application process should you choose to go test optional.
If you do take the SAT or ACT and are happy with your scores and feel they accurately reflect your ability, you can still choose to submit them to test optional schools so they can be reviewed as part of your application. Ask your guidance or college counselor for their advice if you’re thinking of going the test optional route.