Which Are Test Optional Colleges

Did you know that test optional colleges do not require students to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of the college application? Too good to be true? Before you stress too much about the SAT and ACT, make sure you explore all of your college admissions options.

Below I listed over 40 selective colleges that do NOT require SAT or ACT scores to be admitted. These are great options for students with low test scores but high GPA targeting selective and highly selective colleges. Even if you do choose submit test scores, these schools are signaling that they look beyond test scores in the application process. 

Highly Selective and Test Optional Colleges

If you have SAT scores or ACT scores below the median for a certain college BUT a high GPA and really good extracurricular activities, you are an ideal candidate for "test-optional" colleges. When compiling your college list, you may want to consider including at least one of the following colleges below in your list of schools.

Note: The list is roughly in order of selectivity of the college or university.

Top 20 National Universities

  1. Wake Forest
  2. New York University
  3. University of Rochester
  4. Brandies University
  5. University of Texas (Top 8%)
  6. George Washington University
  7. Worcester Polytechnic
  8. Texas A&M
  9. American University
  10. University of Arizona
  11. Clark University
  12. University of Delaware
  13. Duquesne University
  14. Temple University
  15. De Paul University
  16. Catholic University (DC)
  17. New School (NY)
  18. Arizona State
  19. Hofstra University
  20. George Mason University

Note: Colleges change score reporting policies frequently, so be sure to check with the college to confirm its testing policy. If you would like to read my overview of test optional colleges, which details the various reasons that a college might choose this test reporting option. For a more comprehensive list of over 200+ "Top Tier" colleges that deemphasize test scoresclick here.

Top 40 Liberal Arts Colleges

  1. Bowdoin College
  2. Middleburg College
  3. Smith College
  4. Hamilton College
  5. Wesleyan University
  6. Bates College
  7. Colby College
  8. Colorado College
  9. Mount Holyoke
  10. Bryn Mawr College
  11. College of the Holy Cross
  12. Pitzer College
  13. Skidmore College
  14. Bard College
  15. Sewanee-The University of the South
  16. Connecticut College
  17. Franklin and Marshall College
  18. Union College
  19. Furman University
  20. Trinity College
  21. Dickinson College
  22. Gettysburg College
  23. Denison University
  24. Sarah Lawrence College
  25. St. Lawrence College
  26. Kalamazoo College
  27. Wheaton College
  28. St. John's College (MD)
  29. Lewis & Clark College
  30. Lawrence University
  31. Willamette University
  32. Knox College
  33. Lewis & Clark College
  34. Muhlenberg College
  35. Drew College
  36. University of Puget Sound
  37. Juniata College
  38. Bennington College
  39. St. Michael's College (VT)
  40. Cornell College (IA)

Note: Colleges change score reporting policies frequently, so be sure to check with the college to confirm its testing policy. If you would like to read my overview of test optional colleges, which details the various reasons that a college might choose this test reporting option. For a more comprehensive list of over 200+ "Top Tier" colleges that deemphasize test scores, click here.


Do I Still Need To Prep for SAT or ACT?

Even if you plan to apply to some of the colleges on the lists above, you should still study for the SAT or ACT. Why? Because there are LOTS of colleges that still require the SAT or ACT and why limit your options too early? Don't forget to check out my Best SAT Prep Book Reviews and Best ACT Prep Book Reviews for some great and inexpensive test prep resources.


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