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Sitting for hours in a quiet room answering multiple-choice questions is not most people’s idea of a good time.
For people who don’t like the pressure of big exams, the idea of writing SAT and ACT tests can be overwhelming.
Some colleges recognize this and have created admissions policies for students to attend their institutions without writing these examinations. For students with low scoring SAT/ACT grades, this means a sigh of relief, because most of these colleges will accept essays, portfolios and other demonstrations of academic potential in place of standardized test scores.
Below is a list of some of the Top Ranked test-optional and test- flexible schools for students to explore that will open up options for education without the need to write a major exam.
There are over a thousand colleges across the US that have changed their approach to emphasizing standardized test scores.
Test optional policies are a growing trend in admissions guidelines, which allow students to decide whether or not to include their SAT or ACT scores in their college application.
This lets applicants decide if their scores accurately reflect their academic ability. However, many of these schools only allow flexibility for students applying to certain programs or college majors. Students will still have to demonstrate their academic abilities in other ways, but for students who did not score well on their SAT, a college with a flexible admissions policy may be the answer to acceptance.
Though the majority of schools still strongly consider and even require SAT scores, below is a list of schools that do not require applicants to submit their scores for admission.
- American University (DC)
- Bates College
- Bennington College
- Bowdoin College
- Bryn Mawr College
- Clark University
- College of Atlantic
- Cornell College
- Dickinson College
- Earlham College
- The George Washington University
- Hamilton College
- Hofstra University
- Knox College
- Pitzer College
- Saint Lawrence University
- Sarah Lawrence College
- Skidmore College
- Smith College
- Texas A&M University
- Trinity College
- Union College
- University of Chicago
- University of Iowa
- University of Rochester
- Wake Forest University
- Wesleyan University
- Wofford College
For a complete list of Test-Flexible schools, visit the National Center for Fair and Open Testing at fairtest.org
The Test-Flexible Option
Some schools offer a Test-Flexible option which allows students to submit different credentials in place of their SAT scores.
Depending on the school, students can submit AP scores or even SAT section scores (in place of the overall mark) for specific programs, while some even waive test scores altogether in favor of a GPA minimum.
The qualifications vary from school to school so it is important to research what requirements will be needed for each individual college before submitting an application.
Some great options for Test-Flexible schools are:
- Brandeis University
- Colby College
- Colorado College
- Hamilton College
- Middlebury College
- New York University
Currently the Hampshire College in Amherst, MA is the only Test Blind school in the US. They actually reject scores that are sent in and do not weight them into their decision-making process.
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Test scores aren’t everything and luckily for prospective undergraduates, more schools are taking a flexible approach to admissions.
This doesn’t replace hard work and a studious approach to education, it simply eliminates some of the barriers to higher education that many students face.