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SAT & ACT Optional Colleges and Universities


I knew that the SAT and ACT were optional at some colleges.

What I didn’t know is that the SAT and ACT are optional at so many colleges, or that some of the test-optional schools are so famous.

That’s good news not only for students who dread taking undergraduate college admissions tests like theĀ  SAT and ACT, but also for advocates like FairTest who say the tests are misused.

According to FairTest, more than 800 schools have made submitting SAT or ACT scores optional for at least some applicants. That list contains several well-known US colleges and universities, including:

  • Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
  • Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  • Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME)
  • Connecticut College (New London, CT)
  • Loma Linda University (Oakland, CA)
  • Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT)
  • New York University (New York, NY)
  • Providence College (Providence, RI)
  • Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville, NY)
  • Texas A&M University (College Station, TX)

(And if you need another reason to take a second look at Loma Linda University, remember that the school’s alumni have the highest median starting salaries!)

But even Fair Test acknowledges that SAT and ACT optional schools aren’t always optional for everyone. Depending on your GPA, the program you are applying to, your location, or other criteria, you may have to take the SAT or ACT anyway. In addition, several schools require scores for merit-based scholarships, according to a recent article in the New York Times.

The lesson? Always check if a test is recommended by directly contacting the colleges and universities where you want to apply– even if you’ve been told it’s an SAT or ACT optional college.



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