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Complete Guide: Colleges Not Requiring SAT Scores

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 1, 2018 6:00:00 PM

SAT General Info, College Admissions



Not all admissions processes are created equal. One major point of difference among colleges these days is how admissions officers consider your SAT scores. More and more schools are de-emphasizing SAT scores as part of your application with test-optional and test-flexible policies. One college has even eliminated SAT scores completely!

There are now more than 1,000 accredited, bachelor-degree granting institutions that have changed their approaches to standardized test scores. Keep in mind that the majority of colleges, especially the more prestigious schools, do still require (and strongly consider) SAT scores.

Let’s take a look at the different score policies and the schools that no longer require applicants to submit their SAT scores for admission.



What Is Test Optional?

A test-optional policy leaves the decision up to you as to whether or not you want to send SAT scores to a school. In other words, SAT-optional colleges do not require you to send your scores. Instead, you must decide whether or not your test results are an accurate representation of your academic ability and potential.



Just as with the rest of your application, you can be purposeful in crafting your candidacy to a test-optional college. This leaves you with more choice and control over how you can present your strengths to admissions officers.



Some highly ranked SAT-optional schools include the following:

  • Bates College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • The George Washington University
  • Hofstra University
  • Pitzer College (for students with a ≥3.5 unweighted GPA or who are in the top 10% of their high school class)
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • Smith College (for US citizens/permanent residents)
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Iowa
  • Wake Forest University
  • Wesleyan University (for students attending US/Canadian high schools)

Scroll down to see the full list of colleges that do not require SAT scores.



What Is Test Flexible?

While a test-flexible policy requires you to send test scores, it might allow for different options in place of the SAT. For example, some schools might waive their test requirements if you meet a minimum GPA or are applying to a specific program, while others might let you send AP scores or SAT Subject Test scores in lieu of general SAT scores.



The rationale is that these scores can demonstrate subject mastery and therefore reveal your own particular academic interests and motivations.

NYU’s test-flexible policy, for example, states the following:

"To be eligible for admission, you must submit one of the following:

  • SAT (essay test not required)
  • ACT (writing test not required)
  • Three SAT Subject Test scores
  • Three AP exam scores
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
  • Three IB higher-level exam scores if not an IB Diploma candidate
  • Certain international qualifications that shows you completed your secondary education."



Because the specifics of test-flexible policies can vary from school to school, you should check with your colleges of interest to make sure you're fulfilling the application requirements. This info should be available on each school’s website, but if not, definitely call and speak to an admissions officer directly.

You’ll not only get the info you need but also demonstrate your interest and a proactive approach to the college, which could ultimately help you stand out from other applicants.



Some highly ranked test-flexible schools include the following:

  • Brandeis University (for US and Canada citizens/permanent residents)
  • Colby College
  • Colorado College
  • Hamilton College
  • Middlebury College
  • New York University (NYU)

You'll find more test-flexible schools on the full list below.




What Is Test Blind?

Currently, there is only one college that has a test-blind policy—meaning, it does not want you to send any test scores at all. This school is Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.

According to the school's policy, Hampshire will reject any and all score reports sent in:

"Unlike 'test-optional' institutions, we will not consider SAT/ACT scores regardless of the score. Even if it's a perfect score, it will not weigh into our assessment of an applicant."

As you can see, schools have different approaches to SAT scores and how much they weigh into your application (if at all).



Below, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of all schools not requiring the SAT, as well as a list of top-tier test-optional and test-flexible colleges.



When applying to college, make sure to explore all the different policies for standardized tests.



Top-Tier Schools That De-emphasize the SAT

In this section, we've listed 320+ top-tier liberal arts colleges and research universities that de-emphasize the SAT. Some of these schools are test flexible, some are test optional, and others have guaranteed admission based on GPA or class rank.

By top tier, we mean any school ranked among the top 250 on the US News lists for best liberal arts colleges, best national universities, best regional universities, or best regional colleges. All schools are numbered according to their ranking and region.



Take a look and see if any schools you're interested in are on these lists! Since they are quite long, you can also search directly for a school of interest with the ctrl + F function on your keyboard.


National Liberal Arts Colleges

3. Bowdoin College (ME)

6. Middlebury College (VT) "Test Flexible"

12. Colby College (ME) "Test Flexible"

12. Smith College (MA)

18. Hamilton College (NY) "Test Flexible"

21. Wesleyan University (CT)

23. Bates College

23. Colorado College (CO) "Test Flexible

32. Bryn Mawr (PA)

33. College of the Holy Cross (MA)

33. Pitzer College (CA)

36. Mount Holyoke College (MA)

36. Union College (NY)

39. Franklin and Marshall College (PA)

41. Sewanee--University of the South (TN)

41. Skidmore College (NY)

41. Whitman College (WA)

44. Trinity College (CT)

46. Bard College (NY)

46. Connecticut College (CT)

46. Denison University (OH)

46. Gettysburg College (PA)

53. Furman University (SC)

53. St. John's College (MD)

53. Sarah Lawrence College (NY)

58. Lawrence University (WI)

58. St. Lawrence University (NY)

61. Agnes Scott College (GA)

65. Hobart and William Smith Colleges (NY)

68. Earlham College (IN)

68. University of Puget Sound (WA)

71. Knox College (IL)

71. Muhlenberg College (PA)

71. Wofford College (SC)

76. Beloit College (WI)

76. Kalamazoo College (MI)

76. Lewis and Clark (OR)

76. St. John's College (NM)

76. Wheaton College (MA)

82. Allegheny College (PA)

82. Willamette University (OR)

85. Gustavus Adolphus (MN)

87. Bennington College (VT)

87. Cornell College (IA)

87. Transylvania University (KY)

93. Austin College (TX)

93. College of the Atlantic (ME)

93. Ursinus College (PA)

96. Washington College (MD)

101. Augustana College (IL)

101. Lake Forest College (IL)

101. Ohio Wesleyan University (OH)

101. St. Mary's College (IN)

106. Juniata College (PA)

106. St. Anselm College (NH)

106. St. Michael's College (VT)

106. Washington & Jefferson College (PA)

111. Stonehill College (MA)

112. Drew University (NJ)

112. Goucher College (MD)

112. Hanover College (IN)

117. Ripon College (WI)

117. Elizabethtown College (PA)

117. Marlboro College (VT)

123. Birmingham-Southern College (AL)

123. Presbyterian College (SC)

128. Whittier College (CA)

134. McDaniel College (MD)

134. Siena College (NY)

134. Sweet Briar College (VA)

138. Illinois College (IL)

138. Roanoke College (VA)

141. Hiram College (OH)

141. Susquehanna University (PA)

147. Bard College at Simon's Rock (MA)

147. Houghton College (NY)

147. Lycoming College (PA)

147. William Jewell College (MO)

158. Doane University (NB)

158. Wittenberg University (OH)

160. Guilford College (NC)

160. Warren Wilson College (NC)

163. Carthage College

165. Elmira College (NY)

159. Hartwick College (NY)

168. College of Idaho

 168. Wells College (NY)


National Universities

3. University of Chicago (IL)

27. Wake Forest University (NC)

30. New York University (NY) "Test Flexible"

34. Brandeis University (MA)

34. University of Rochester (NY) "Test Flexible)

56. The George Washington University (DC)

56. Univ. of Texas – Austin (TX) "Top 8%"

61. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA)

69. American University (DC)

69. Texas A&M University (TX) "Top 10%"

81. Clark University (MA)

81. University of Delaware (DE)

94. Drexel University (PA) "Test Flexible"

115. Arizona State University (AZ)

115. Temple University

120. DePaul University (IL)

120. Duquesne University (PA)

120. The Catholic University of America (DC)

124. University of Arizona (AZ)

132. Hofstra University (NY)

133. New School (NY)

140. George Mason University (VA)

140. Washington State University (WA) "Top 10%"

145. Kansas State University (KS)

145. University of Mississippi (MS)

145. Univ. Texas—Dallas (TX) "Top 10%"

156. University of Massachusetts—Lowell (MA)

165. Immaculata University (PA)

165. Maryville University of St. Louis (MO)

165. St. John's University (NY)

171. Mississippi State University (MS)

171. Rowan University (NJ)

171. Virginia Commonwealth University (VA)

176. University of Hartford (CT)

176. Texas Tech University (TX) "Top 10%"

187. Azusa Pacific University (CA)

187. Ball State University (IN)

187. Montclair State University (NJ)

192. University of Houston (TX) "Top 10%"

202. University of Nevada--Reno (NV)

202. California State. University—Fullerton (CA)

202. University of Massachusetts--Boston (MA)

207. University of Alaska—Fairbanks (AK)

216. South Dakota State University (SD)

223. California State University—Fresno (CA)

223. University of South Dakota (SD)




Regional Universities North

1. Providence College (RI)

3. Fairfield University (CT)

4. Loyola University (MD)

6. University of Scranton (PA)

7. Emerson College (MA)

8. Ithaca College (NY)

9. Marist College (NY)

10. Bryant College (RI)

11. Saint Joseph's University (PA)

13. Quinnipiac University (CT)

17. Le Moyne College (NY)

24. Lebanon Valley College (PA)

28. Assumption College (MA)

28. Hood College (MD)

28. Nazareth College (NY)

34. Endicott College (MA)

34. La Salle University (PA)

37. Roger Williams University (RI)

37. Salve Regina University (RI)

37. Wagner College (NY)

41. Sacred Heart University (CT)

41. Stockton University (NJ)

48. Mercyhurst University (PA)

48. Niagara University (NY)

56. Merrimack College (MA)

56. Notre Dame of Maryland University (MD)

56. Seton Hill University (PA)

62. King's College (PA)

64. DeSales University (PA)

64. Johnson and Wales University (RI)

64. Western New England University (MA)

75. Chatham University (PA)

78. Roberts Wesleyan College (PA)

78. Salisbury University (MD)

78. University of New England (ME)

78. University of Saint Joseph (CT)

86. Eastern Connecticut State University (CT)

86. Norwich University (VT)

86. Southern New Hampshire University (NH)

91. College of Saint Rose (NY)

91. SUNY Potsdam (NY)

91. Champlain College (VT)

94. Millersville University of Pennsylvania (PA)

97. Saint Peter's University (NJ)

97. The Sage Colleges (NY)

97. Wheelock College (MA)

102. Bay Path University (MA)

102. Bridgewater State University (MA)

102. Manhattanville College (NY)

102. Point Park University (PA)

115. Plymouth State University (NH)

116. Worcester State University (MA)

120. Cabrini University (PA)

120. Keuka College (NY)

120. Western Connecticut State University (CT)

126. Framingham State University (MA)

130. Daemen College (NY)

130. Lasell College (MA)

130. Utica College (NY)

136. St. Joseph's College (ME)

137. College of St. Elizabeth (NJ)

137. Salem State University (MA)



Regional Universities Midwest

3. Drake University (IA)

9. University of Evansville (IN)

18. Baldwin-Wallace College (OH)

29. Augsburg University (MN)

51. Robert Morris University (IL)

64. Walsh University (OH)

73. McKendree University (IL)

75. MidAmerica Nazarene University (KS)

87. Northwest Missouri State University (MO)

93. Southeast Missouri State University (MO)

93. Tiffin University (OH)

99. Northern State University (SD)

106. Concordia University (MN)

106. Ohio Dominican University (OH)

109. Wayne State College (NE)

118. Dakota State University (SD)

118. Sierra Heights University (MI)

122. Emporia State University (KS)


Regional Universities South

2. Rollins College (FL)

6. Stetson University (FL)

7. James Madison University

11. Christopher Newport University (VA)

12. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (FL)

15. Asbury University (KY)

17. University of Mary Washington (VA)

21. Hampton University (VA)

43. Radford University (VA)

52. Jacksonville University (FL)

52. Keiser University (FL)

52. Marymount University (VA)

52. Mississippi University for Women (MS)

57. Brenau University (GA)

57. Columbia College (SC)

61. St. Leo University (FL)

80. St. Thomas University (FL)

87. Pfeiffer University (NC)

89. King University (TN)

95. Lynn University (FL)

102. Virginia State University (VA)

104. Arkansas Tech (AR)

106. Amridge University (AL)



Regional Universities West

8. Whitworth University (WA)

9. Mills College (CA)

16. Pacific Lutheran University (WA)

31. California State Polytechnic—Pomona (CA)

35. San Jose State University (CA)

37. California State Univ.—Chico (CA)

39. California State Univ.—Long Beach (CA)

44. La Sierra University (CA)

47. California State Univ.—Monterey Bay (CA)

47. Humboldt State University (CA)

47. Northwest Nazarene University (ID)

47. Walla Walla University (WA)

55. California State Univ.--Stanislaus (CA)

57. Alaska Pacific University (AK)

57. Sonoma State University (CA)

59. California State Univ.—Los Angeles (CA)

59. Hawaii Pacific University (HI)

63. California State Univ.—San Bernardino (CA)

66. California State Univ.—Channel Islands (CA)

66. Woodbury University (CA)

70. California State Univ.—Sacramento (CA)

70. Texas A&M Int'l Univ. (TX) "Top 10%"

73. California State Univ.—Northridge (CA)

73. Stephen F. Austin State Univ. (TX) "Top 10%"

73. Western Oregon University (OR)

76. California State Univ.—San Marcos (CA)

76. University of Alaska—Anchorage (AK)

81. Oklahoma Wesleyan University (OK)

81. Prescott College (AZ)

 81. West Texas A&M University (TX)

86. Eastern Washington University (WA)

86. Weber State University (UT)

90. University of Texas—Tyler (TX)

91. Midwestern State University (TX)

91. University of Texas—Permian Basin (TX)

 94. California State Univ.--Bakersfield (CA)

95. University of North Texas (TX) "Top 10%"




Regional Colleges North

7. Colby-Sawyer College (NH)

8. University of Maine—Farmington (ME)

11. Wilson College (PA)

12. Cazenovia College (NY)

13. Pennsylvania College of Technology (PA)

16. Unity College (ME)

17. SUNY College of Technology—Delhi (NY)

19. Vermont Technical College (VT)

19. Concordia College (NY)

22. Dean College (MA)

22. Paul Smith's College (NY)

26. Keystone College (PA)

26. Mount Ida College (MA)

29. University of Maine—Presque Isle (ME)

31. University of Maine—Fort Kent (ME)

33. University of Northern Vt.--Lyndon (VT)

35. University of Valley Forge (PA)

36. Newbury College (MA)


Regional Colleges Midwest

25. Manchester University (IN)

42. Ottawa University (KS)

44. Olivet College (MI)

51. Dickinson State University (ND)

54. Midland University (NE)

56. Dunwoody College of Technology (MN)


Regional Colleges South

1. High Point University (SC)

2. Flagler College (FL)

3. University of the Ozarks (AR)

4. Catawba College (NC)

8. Belmont Abbey College (NC)

19. Lees-McRae College (NC)

21. Brevard College (NC)

21. Florida Memorial University (FL)

25. Bennett College (NC)

26. Welch College (TN)

28. Pensacola State College (FL)

28. South Florida State College (FL)

36. Everglades University (FL)

41. Point University (GA)

 45. Warner University (FL)

50. Georgia Gwinnett College (GA)

55. University of Holy Cross (LA)



Regional Colleges West

3. California State Univ.-- Maritime (CA)

6. Oregon Institute of Technology (OR)

15. Marymount California University (CA)

16. East Texas Baptist University (TX)

21. Southwestern Christian University (OK)

23. Lewis-Clark State University (ID)

25. University of Hawaii--Oahu (HI)




You might notice that national liberal arts colleges are more likely to have test-optional policies than national research universities are. In recent years, liberal arts schools have increasingly taken the position that your test scores are only one component of your application and don't represent the sum of your academic potential.

However, most prestigious universities (in the top 50) still require the SAT. This includes Ivy League schools like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton; University of California system schools like UC Berkeley and UCLA; and many other top private schools like Stanford and Duke.

It’s important to know the SAT policies of schools long before you actually apply, since taking and prepping for the SAT can begin more than a year in advance of your deadlines.

Now that you’re aware of these different policies, your first course of action is to start exploring.



Comprehensive List of Schools That De-emphasize the SAT

Beyond the top schools above, we've also prepared a comprehensive document listing all schools that de-emphasize the SAT. Click the icon below to see the complete list!




What Should You Do With These Test-Optional Lists?

Now that you have a sense of all the schools with test-optional or text-flexible admissions policies, what should you do next? Consider these four tips for moving forward in the college application process.


#1: Do Your Own Fact Checking

Since admissions processes are complex and unique to each school, it falls on you to thoroughly explore the policies of all the colleges you're interested in.

As mentioned above, if you can’t find a detailed explanation on the college’s website, don’t hesitate to call an admissions officer and ask directly. This is also a question you could bring to your college visits, as long as you answer it early enough to give yourself enough time for test prep.


#2: Take the SAT or ACT to Keep Your Options Open

Your college list is almost certainly going to change throughout junior and even senior year. Don’t limit yourself prematurely by ruling out the SAT, as you'll want to keep your options open.

Think about it: you wouldn’t want to fall in love with a college only to discover you don’t have time to take the SAT or prep effectively for it and thus can’t meet the school's admission requirements.

Planning and prepping should begin at least by early junior year, and it’s very unlikely that you’ll have your college list finalized by then. As you plan out your schedule, visit our resources on when you should start prepping for the SAT and what the best test dates are for you.


#3: Consider Applying to Many Schools

On a similar note, it isn't wise to limit yourself to certain schools just so you can avoid taking the SAT. The fit of the college—from its academics and extracurricular opportunities to its campus and culture—are much more important factors in determining where you'll be spending the four years of your life after high school.

Even if you feel anxious about the SAT, the skills of applied discipline and personal growth that you develop preparing for it will be useful to you throughout your academic and professional careers.


#4: Analyze the Strength of Your Application

If you're applying to colleges that do not require the SAT or that have test-flexible options, it'll help you to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. Have you achieved (or will you be able to get) a strong SAT score, or is your academic ability better represented through AP tests and SAT Subject Tests? Will these scores strengthen your application, or do they not truly represent your skills and abilities? Where do you shine the brightest?

Though SAT-optional policies are yet another thing to think about as you apply, having that choice can ultimately only work in your benefit. By making an informed and intentional decision, you have the power to shape the story you tell to admissions officers.


What’s Next?

Want to find out more about test-optional schools specifically? Check out our in-depth guide to see all 500+ test-optional schools, and get tips on whether to apply to them or not.

Even among universities that do require SAT scores, there’s some variation in how they look at your scores. Check out the full list of colleges that superscore the SAT, and learn how this info could completely transform your approach to test prep.

Exploring your standardized testing options? Many colleges also superscore the ACT. Click here for the full list and for strategies on how to get your best ACT score.


Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points? We've written a guide about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 160+ Points


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Rebecca Safier
About the Author

Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.

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