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Which Colleges Aren't Requiring SAT/ACT Scores for 2020 Admissions?

Posted by Christine Sarikas | May 8, 2020 12:00:00 PM

College Admissions



The novel coronavirus has had a massive impact on colleges, and that includes college admissions. Because of stay-at-home orders, virtual learning, and cancelled SAT and ACT exam dates, among other things, many universities are aware that it might be difficult or impossible for incoming high school seniors to take and do well on standardized tests in time for application deadlines.

The result? Dozens of colleges have dropped their SAT and ACT test requirements for the 2020/2021 college admissions cycle. Which schools have cancelled exams? Will they reinstate these test requirements next year? If you're able to take a test, should you still submit your scores? This guide covers all those questions.


Which Colleges Are Not Requiring SAT/ACT Scores for 2020/2021 College Admissions?

Below is a chart of all the colleges and universities in the United States that are no longer requiring SAT/ACT scores for any applicants for the 2020/2021 admissions cycle as a result of the coronavirus. Some notable inclusions are the University of California system, Cornell College, and Williams College.

Note that this list only includes colleges that have become test optional as a result of the coronavirus; colleges that were already test optional before the pandemic are listed here. Also note that this list only includes schools that are dropping the SAT/ACT requirement. Additional schools, such as Harvard, still require the SAT/ACT but are dropping requirements for SAT Subject Tests and AP tests for this year's applicants.

School Name


Adelphi College
Garden City, NY
Alabama A & M
Huntsville, AL
Alabama State University
Montgomery, AL
Albion College
Albion, MI
Alma College
Alma, MI
Amherst College
Amherst, MA
Austin Peay State University
Clarksville, TN
Auburn University at Montgomery
Montgomery, AL
Bethany College
Bethany, WV
Bismarck State College
Bismarck, ND
Bluefield State University
Bluefield, WV
Boston University
Boston, MA
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH
Central College
Pella, IA
Cleveland State College
Cleveland, TN
Concordia University Texas
Austin, TX
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY
Cottey College
Nevada, MO
Davidson College
Davidson, NC
Drury University
Springfield, MO
Fairmont State University
Fairmont, WV
Franklin College
Franklin, IN
Haverford College
Haverford, PA
Indiana University Kokomo
Kokomo, IN
Indiana University Northwest
Gary, IN
Indiana University Southeast 
New Albany, IN
Indiana Wesleyan University
Marion, IN
Iowa Wesleyan University
Mt. Pleasant, IA
Jackson State University
Jackson, MS
Kent State University
Kent, OH
Kutztown University
Kutztown, PA
Lamar University
Beaumont, TX
Limestone College
Gaffney, SC
Lock Haven University 
Lock Haven, PA
Longwood University 
Farmville, VA
Malone University
Canton, OH
Mansfield University
Mansfield, PA
Marymount Manhattan College
New York City, NY
Midway University
Midway, KY
Millersville University
Millersville, PA
Millikin University
Decatur, IL
Minnesota State University, Moorhead
Moorhead, MN
Mississippi College
Clinton, MS
Newberry College
Newberry, SC
Northeastern University
Boston, MA
Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY
Ohio University
Athens, OH
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR
Pomona College
Claremont, CA
Portland State University
Portland, OR
Rhodes College
Memphis, TN
Rutgers University-Newark
Newark, NJ
Saint Vincent College 
Latrobe, PA
Southern Oregon University
Ashland, OR
St. Mary’s University
San Antonio, TX
St. Thomas Aquinas College
Sparkill, NY
St. Thomas University
Miami Gardens, FL
Savannah College of Arts and Design
Savannah, GA
Scripps College
Claremont, CA
Southwest Baptist University
Bolivar, MO
Texas Christian University
Fort Worth, TX
Thiel College
Greenville, PA
Trinity University
San Antonio, TX
Tufts University
Medford, MA
Tulane University
New Orleans, LA
University of Akron
Akron, OH
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA
University of California, Merced
Merced, CA
University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA
University of California, San Diego
San Diego, CA
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA
University of the Cumberlands
Williamsburg, KY
University of Dayton
Dayton, OH
University of Mount Union
Alliance, OH
University of Nevada–Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
University of Nevada–Reno
Reno, NV
University of North Dakota–Grand Forks
Grand Forks, ND
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR
University of Pittsburgh-Bradford
Bradford, PA
University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg
Greensburg, PA
University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown
Johnstown, PA
University of Pittsburgh-Titusville
Titusville, PA
University of Virginia–Wise
Wise, VA
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, NY
Washington State University Vancouver
Vancouver, WA
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI
Westminster College 
Salt Lake City, UT
West Virginia State University
Institute, WV
Williams College
Williamstown, MA
Winthrop University
Rock Hill, SC



Will These Schools Eventually Return to Requiring Standardized Test Scores?

The short answer is that some colleges will, some won't. Some schools, such as the University of California system, have stated that the suspension of requiring ACT/SAT scores is only a temporary move. Some schools, such as Tufts University and Trinity University, are using this as a trial period, and will keep their test-optional policy for three years before deciding whether to implement it permanently or not. Other schools, such as the University of Oregon and Scripps College, have announced that they've decided to become permanently test optional, beginning with the 2020/2021 admissions cycle. However, most schools aren't committing to whether or not they'll continue their test-optional policy after the pandemic ends.

What we do know, though, is that more and more schools are becoming test optional. Colleges are making an effort to attract more diverse applicants, and they don't want potential students to be held back by circumstances beyond their control, whether that's test centers being shut down because of the coronavirus or students not being able to afford standardized tests, even in non-pandemic times. Additionally, research has shown that students from more affluent backgrounds consistently have higher SAT and ACT scores, so many schools are dropping the standardized test requirement so students from more disadvantaged backgrounds aren't put at a further disadvantage during the college admissions process.

Already, over 1,000 colleges and universities in the United States are test optional, and others are test flexible (where you don't need to submit test scores if you have a certain GPA or meet another requirement). We expect this number to only grow over time.


If You Have SAT or ACT Scores, Should You Still Submit Them?

What if you've already taken the SAT or ACT, or you're able to do so before college deadlines? Should you submit those scores?

First, we recommend everyone who is reasonably able to take the SAT/ACT. Your scores might be higher than you expect, and even if they're not, if you're applying to a test optional school, you're under no requirement to submit them. Taking a standardized test gives you the most options.

Second, it's important to understand what "test optional" means. When a school says they are test optional, it means they don't require SAT or ACT scores, but they will still review and consider them as part of your application. It does not mean that SAT and ACT scores are no longer important. Only schools that are "test blind" don't look at standardized test scores at all. Test blind is a very rare policy, and currently only Hampshire College follows it.

What does this mean for you? It means that, even for test optional schools, strong SAT or ACT scores will absolutely still help your college applications. Not submitting test scores won't hurt your application, as these schools have stated, but it also means you lose out on a potential chance to make your application stronger. So, how to decide? Use these guidelines:


Submit test scores if:

  • Your test scores are strong (at or near the 75th percentiles of admitted students to the school)
  • You don't have other strong test scores (AP tests, SAT Subject Tests, etc.) to send
  • The school still recommends submitting scores if you can


Don't submit test scores if:

  • Your test scores are low (Below 50th percentiles of admitted students)
  • You're confident other areas of your application (GPA, class rank, extracurriculars, etc.) make up for a lack of test scores
  • You have strong test scores from other exams (AP tests, SAT Subject Tests, etc.) that you will submit

Basically, for people able to take the SAT or ACT, submit your test scores if you think they'll help you. They're still an important part of admissions decisions, even for test optional schools. Only don't submit scores if you feel they'll be a particularly weak area of your application. Colleges won't hold it against you for not being able to take a standardized test, but you'll still need the rest of your application to be strong in order to convince them to admit you.




What's Next?

Need help preparing for the SAT? Read our ultimate study guide to get expert tips on prep and access to the best free online resources.

Debating whether to take the SAT or ACT? Read our extensive ACT vs SAT guide to learn about the differences between the two tests and to get tips on choosing the right one for you.

Do you know all the steps to apply to college? Check out this article to learn about the full college application process, step by step.


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Christine Sarikas
About the Author

Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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