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What Are Test-Blind Colleges? Complete List and Explanation


Over the past several years, a rising number of US colleges have dropped SAT/ACT scores from their admissions requirements. Schools that no longer consider test scores for admissions at all are known as test-blind schools. If this sounds like new information to you, keep reading--there’s a lot to learn about test-blind admissions!

In this article, we’ll get you up to speed on test-blind admissions policies by covering the following: 

  • A breakdown of test-blind admissions means, and how it’s different from other policies, such as test optional
  • Three examples of test-blind schools
  • A list of all of the test-blind colleges you need to know about
  • Five pros and cons of applying to test-blind schools 

Keep reading to learn all about test-blind admissions (and how you should prepare for it!). 



Test blind colleges don't want you to submit test scores at all. They don't factor into the admissions process at these schools, so you won't even submit them! 


What Does It Mean If a School Is “Test-Blind”? 

In most cases, when a school claims to be “test-blind,” they’re saying that test scores will not be considered at all in the admissions process. This means that even if you take the SAT or ACT and have your score reports sent to a test-blind school, the admissions office will neither see nor consider your score as a factor in your admission decision. 

That’s right--under a test-blind policy, your SAT/ACT scores won’t even be viewed by the admissions team and, as a result, won’t play a role in whether you get accepted. 

You may be more familiar with test optional policies, but those aren’t the same as test-blind admissions. When a school claims to be test optional, it most often means that the applicant gets to choose whether to submit their test scores with their application. 

Under test optional, if you do choose to submit your SAT/ACT scores, the admissions team will take them into consideration in what’s known as a “holistic admissions” approach. Basically, this means that test optional schools won’t weigh test scores as more important than other aspects of your application (like your essays or letters of recommendation, for instance), and you won’t be unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged based on your test scores in the admissions process. 

On the other hand, test-blind schools believe that other aspects of your application provide better information about you as an applicant than test scores do. For that reason, you don’t have the option to submit SAT/ACT scores to test-blind schools, and they won’t factor into your admissions decision at all. 

Right now, test-optional policies are much more common than test-blind policies. However, because test-optional schools allow you to send your test scores and test-blind schools do not, it’s important to know the difference!


Test-Blind Schools: 3 Top Examples

To help you know what to expect when applying to test-blind schools, let’s look at how three schools handle test scores in the college admissions process. 


Test-Blind Example 1: Caltech

One of the most prestigious test-blind schools is California Institute of Technology, or Caltech. Located in Pasadena, California, Caltech is ranked #9 in national universities by US News & World Report and is one of the best engineering schools in the country. 

But Caltech has also put a test-blind admissions policy in place through the Fall 2023 admissions cycle. The school’s admissions website says this about test scores and admissions

In June 2020, Caltech enacted a two-year moratorium on both the requirement and consideration of SAT and/or ACT test scores as part of the undergraduate admissions process. *As of July 2021, the original two-year moratorium was extended an additional third year. This change, made in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and its continuing impact on access to these exams for students across the country and globe, will be in effect for all first-year students applying to Caltech for Fall 2021, Fall 2022, and Fall 2023 (updated as of July 2021).

The first thing you might notice is that Caltech doesn’t explicitly use the term “test-blind.” So how do we know for sure that Caltech has a test-blind admissions policy? This phrasing from the website clues us in: 

“Caltech enacted a two-year moratorium on both the requirement and consideration of SAT and/or ACT test scores.” 

In the excerpt above, it says that Caltech will neither require nor consider test scores. Even if you have your test scores sent to Caltech when applying for admission, they won’t be considered at all … which means that Caltech’s testing policy counts as “test-blind.” 

The school’s website also notes that the test-blind policy extends to international, home schooled, and student-athletes who are applying for first-year admission. 


Test-Blind Example 2: The University of California System

The University of California system of schools has also adopted a test-blind admissions policy through Fall 2024. This test-blind policy has been implemented at all eight undergraduate UC schools and is applicable to all first-year applicants, including out-of-state and international students. 

We can look at the language that UCLA uses on its admissions website to get a better sense of what a test-blind admissions policy looks like in real life: 

UCLA will not consider SAT or ACT scores for admission or scholarship purposes through fall 2024.

If you choose to submit test scores as part of your application, they may be used to determine your eligibility for the California statewide admissions guarantee, as an alternative method of fulfilling minimum requirements for eligibility or for course placement after you enroll.

You might notice that UCLA’s language about test scores is a bit more straightforward than Caltech’s. This test-blind policy comes right out and says that UCLA will not consider SAT or ACT scores for admission or scholarship purposes. This means that even if you send your scores, they won’t be factored into your admissions decision in any way. 

However, UCLA adds one caveat that you need to look out for when applying to test-blind schools. In the second paragraph of the statement above, UCLA notes that your test scores won’t be considered in your admissions decision, but they might be used to place you in courses that match your level of preparation for college coursework if--and only if--you send your scores in anyway. 

Does this mean that you need to submit test scores for course placement purposes or to fulfill minimum requirements for eligibility? No. That only applies to students who choose to submit test scores despite the UC system’s test-blind policy. 

However, if you apply to a test-blind school, keep in mind that your test scores can sometimes be used for other purposes besides admissions decisions. It’s important to factor that information into your choices about taking the SAT/ACT and completing your college applications!



Worchester Polytechnic Institute is a permanently test-blind school.


Test Blind Example 3: Worcester Polytechnic University 

Let’s look at one non-California school to get a little more practice at decoding test-blind admissions policies. Worcester Polytechnic (WPI), a small private college and well-regarded STEM school, switched its admissions policy from test optional to test blind in March 2021. 

Unlike Caltech and the UC system, WPI is a permanently test-blind school. So whereas Caltech notes that it will be test-blind until Fall 2023, WPI will be test blind for the foreseeable future. Here’s how WPI frames its test-blind policy on its admissions website

More than 13 years after becoming the first STEM university to adopt a test-optional policy, WPI is now piloting a new policy that eliminates SAT and ACT scores entirely from its admission process. The change, which takes effect beginning with applicants who will apply for entrance to WPI for fall of 2022, supports WPI's mission of expanding access to a high-quality STEM education to all students … The new pilot program makes SAT and ACT scores irrelevant, eliminating [certain] inequities and barriers to access.

In addition to explaining its reasons for eliminating test scores from admissions, WPI comes right out and says that it is a test-blind school. It also defines what test-blind means to WPI, stating: 

Test Blind refers to a policy where the Admissions review process would not look at standardized testing (SAT or ACT) even if provided by the applicant.

So WPI not only provides a clear explanation for why it has gone test blind, but it also states what test-blind means in its admissions process. At WPI, test-blind means that even if you provide your SAT/ACT scores, they won’t be looked at or considered in the admissions process. 

WPI’s test-blind policy officially took effect for applicants applying for admission in Fall 2022. If you’re considering applying to WPI, this is great news for you!




List of 44 Test-Blind Colleges

With the escalation of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, many schools changed their testing requirements for admission. Some schools have even updated their testing policies multiple times in the past year alone! 

To help you stay on top of which schools are currently test-blind, we’ve put together a list of the most popular test-blind schools in the US

In the table below, we list 44 schools and specify the details of their test-blind admissions policies (organized alphabetically by school name). For instance, many schools are currently test-blind but plan to reevaluate their testing policy in 2022 or 2023. Knowing these specific details about test-blind schools will help you stay informed and organized as you apply to colleges!

Remember: test-blind means that even if you send in your SAT/ACT scores, those scores will not be viewed or considered in the admissions process. Check out the details on 44 test-blind schools below!

Testing Policy
Pasadena, CA
Test blind through Fall 2023
Vallejo, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Pomona, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
San Luis Obispo, CA
Test blind through Fall 2022 (first-year applicants only)
Bakersfield, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Camarillo, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Chico, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Carson, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Hayward, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Fresno, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Fullerton, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Long Beach, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Los Angeles, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Seaside, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Northridge, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Sacramento, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
San Bernardino, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
San Marcos, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Turlock, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
New York, NY
Test blind through the Spring 2023 admissions cycle
Carlisle, PA
Test-free (AKA, test-blind) through 2023
Amherst, MA
Permanently test-blind
Arcata, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
New Orleans, LA
Permanently test-blind
Dekalb, IL
Permanently test-free (AKA test blind) starting in 2021
Marquette, MI
Permanently test-blind starting in 2021
Claremont, CA
Test-blind for three years beginning Fall 2022
Portland, OR
Test-blind through Fall 2022
San Diego, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
San Francisco, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
San Jose, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Rohnert Park, CA
Test blind through 2022-23
Easton, MA
Piloting a test-blind policy for Fall 2021 and Fall 2022 applications
Berkeley, CA
Test blind through Fall 2024
Davis, CA
Test blind through Fall 2024
Irvine, CA
Test blind through Fall 2024
Los Angeles, CA
Test blind through Fall 2024
Merced, CA
Test blind through Fall 2024
Riverside, CA
Test blind through Fall 2024
La Jolla, CA
Test blind through Fall 2024
Santa Barbara, CA
Test blind through Fall 2024
La Jolla, CA
Test blind through Fall 2024
Pullman, WA
Permanently test blind
Worcester, MA
Permanently test blind




2 Pros to Applying to Test-Blind Schools

There are some definite perks to applying to test-blind schools! We’ll explain the two biggest benefits below. 


Pro: You Don’t Need Test Scores

For many applicants, the most obvious pro of applying to test-blind schools is that you don’t have to submit test scores! It’s no secret that prepping for and taking the SAT/ACT requires tons of time, effort, and money. 

When you apply to test blind colleges, you can put your best effort toward other parts of your application that may feel less stressful to you. 

Test-blind policies are also great for students who experience test-taking anxiety or who struggle to achieve test scores that they’re satisfied with. If this sounds like you, applying to one or two test-blind schools may be advantageous!


Pro: You Can Focus On Other Parts of Your Application 

Without the added pressure of the SAT/ACT, you get the chance to really polish up other parts of your application to test-blind schools. You can focus your energy on writing fantastic application essays, building rapport with your recommenders, and honing your spike approach


Also, the elimination of test score requirements may lend a more inclusive feeling to the admissions process for some applicants. You may feel like you’re presenting yourself as a whole person on your applications to test-blind schools and less like all of your potential is being boiled down to stats and scores. If you think you’ll have a better chance to shine through test-blind admissions, then you might consider applying to a test-blind school!




3 Cons to Applying to Test-Blind Schools 

Just because test-blind schools sound great on paper doesn’t mean they’re the best fit for you. Keep reading to learn more about the three drawbacks of applying to test-blind colleges.


Con: You Can’t Use Your Test Scores

On the flip side: if you have amazing test scores, test-blind admissions policies won’t give you the chance to use them to your advantage. At schools that require test scores, your 1540 on the SAT may make your application extra impressive, but at test-blind schools, you won’t get to rely on that 99th percentile SAT score to help you stand out from other applicants. 

If you feel that your chances of admission would be boosted by your SAT/ACT scores, test-blind schools may not be the best fit for you. 


Con: You Have to Perfect Other Parts of Your Application

For some applicants, the absence of test scores in admissions may feel a bit intimidating. When you can’t provide test scores to help tell the story of your academic potential, you’ll have to put everything you’ve got into perfecting the other parts of your application. 

While it’s always important to do the best you can on your essays, resume, and letters of recommendation, these parts of your application may feel less straightforward than a test score. Essays and recommendation letters tend to be more subjective, whereas it’s fairly easy to quantify what constitutes an amazing test score. If you’re a great test-taker and are counting on your test scores to set you apart from other applicants, then applying to a test-blind school might not be the best option for you! 


Con: Test-Blind Policies Are Often Temporary

Unfortunately, most of the schools in our list of test-blind colleges have only gone test-blind temporarily. 

While it’s possible that more schools will adopt permanent test-blind policies, we just can’t know that for certain at this time. Because of this, relying on the possibility of applying to all test-blind schools isn’t the safest course of action in the college admissions process. 

In fact, many of the schools in our list have noted that they’ll discontinue their test-blind admissions policies as early as 2022. While you do have the option to apply to a small number of permanently test-blind schools, it’s a good idea to take the SAT or ACT to keep your options open. Doing this will ensure you aren’t left in a bind when it’s time to start submitting college applications, and you’ll have the option to apply to both test-required and test-blind schools if you want to!




What’s Next?;

Feel like a test-optional school may be a better fit for you? Check out this massive list of over 900 test-optional schools that you can apply to!

If you’re applying test-blind or test-optional, you’ll need to work hard on other aspects of your college application so they’re the best they can be. Learn more about what it takes to put together a great college app here.

Another great way to make an impact with your application is submitting an awesome essay. Our experts break down the process of writing a great admissions essay into easy-to-follow steps.



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Ashley Robinson
About the Author

Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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