Score Optional Updates for Class of ’22!

With the lack of widespread availability for SAT and ACT tests in the last year, many rising Seniors have wondered how a shift in test administrations will affect their college applications. And this has gotten many people excited about the option for schools who won’t require test scores as part of a student’s admissions profile. But what do you need to know about applying to college in 2021?

 

“Score optional,” or “test optional,” means that a university does not require students to submit test scores from the SAT or ACT. But they do allow (and sometimes recommend) students to submit scores if the score reflects academic strength and contributes positively to their overall admissions profile. This is different from “test blind” colleges, which will not review test scores at all, even if they are submitted. The number of test blind colleges is relatively small compared to the increasing number (over 1000) of schools that are currently score optional (or have recently made the decision to be score optional only for the upcoming admissions cycle). It’s important to understand the implications of what score optional means before deciding whether or not to submit scores as part of the admissions profile.

 

Read on for Score Optional FAQ or scroll down for an updated list of Score Optional colleges.

 

SCORE OPTIONAL FAQ

 

IF I APPLY TO A SCORE OPTIONAL SCHOOL, DO MY TEST SCORES MATTER? Yes and no. If you choose not to submit scores, then your test scores will neither support nor condemn your likelihood of acceptance. But if you don’t submit scores, and other students DO, then the students with very high test scores will demonstrate an added strength to their profile than a student who didn’t submit scores at all. That is why when you look at the average scores for students attending a school like the University of Chicago (test optional for several years, before COVID-19), which consistently ranks in the top 20 of national universities and has <10% acceptance rate, you still see very high average scores for admitted students. Those students weren’t required to submit scores, but they did. And their very high scores emphasized the strengths of the academics already recorded on their transcript.

 

RECOMMENDATION: If you have strong test scores, always send to colleges. Scores that place you ranked in the 75th percentile and above are strong scores (1200 on SAT or 24/25 on ACT). And you shouldn’t be afraid to submit those scores even to a score optional school.

 

IF I APPLY TO A SCORE OPTIONAL SCHOOL, WILL MY EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES AND ESSAYS WILL WEIGH MORE HEAVILY IN MY APPLICATION?

Yes. Not submitting test scores will ultimately mean that a university will take a more holistic approach to reviewing an applicant. For a student with a strong academic record, a broad array of activities and time spent outside of school, and many hours of service or volunteer work, applying to a score optional school is an excellent way to ensure that you get noticed for all of the awesome work you do outside of the classroom. But you should still know that your grades and GPA are the primary factors determining college admissions.

 

WILL I LOSE OUT ON SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES IF I DON’T SUBMIT TEST SCORES, EVEN TO SCORE OPTIONAL SCHOOLS?

Potentially, yes. Many schools might not require test scores for admissions, but they do use test scores in combination with grades/GPA to evaluate merit-based scholarships. For some “score optional” schools, in fact, test scores are only optional if a student meets a certain GPA requirement. These same schools will typically base who qualifies for assured merit scholarships on the GPA and/or test scores submitted with the admissions application. For the best information, you should always check the financial aid website for an individual college.

 

IF I DON’T SUBMIT SAT OR ACT SCORES, SHOULD I SUBMIT OTHER SCORES LIKE AP TESTS?

Absolutely, yes! Especially if those tests show exceptional strength in certain academic areas. In fact, if a student struggles with the testing criteria of SAT or ACT tests, but thrives in a specific subject matter, then showcasing your strength in that area is definitely a great idea. It’s important to remember that standardized tests are intended to allow a student to show academic strength in an objective way. Though these tests may not be required, if a student can show off their skills and knowledge, then that will only add strength to their application. AP testing only happens once a year, but there are other standardized tests that students can take such as CLEP tests and foreign language national exams that can highlight student excellence.

 

 

So the general consensus? The option to not submit scores can be very helpful for a student who struggles with standardized tests or for a student who wasn’t able to test and retest due to COVID-19 cancellations, precautions, or lack of availability for testing. However, there are still advantages to submitting scores and working to improve existing scores. If a student can prep and test in summer and maybe even early Fall (September and October), it is advantageous for that student to do so. Especially if they could improve their likelihood of gaining acceptance to more competitive schools OR if their grades/GPA aren’t as strong as they would have hoped. And then if a student applies to score optional or test flexible schools, which will already be approaching the application holistically, their scores will only add to their strengths. At More Than A Teacher, we are fond of saying that schools are looking for reasons to let you in, not reasons to keep you out. Knowing how a college or university will view test scores is the key to making an informed decision.

 

SCORE OPTIONAL, SCORE FLEXIBLE, AND TEST BLIND SCHOOLS BY GEOGRAPHIC AREA (updated March 2021)

http://fairtest.org/university/optional/state

 

TEST BLIND – Schools that will NOT consider test scores even if submitted for Fall 2021 or beyond

 

All California State universities (through Spring 2023)
All University of California (UC)* campuses (through 2021 state mandate, through 2024 by vote of Board of Regents)
CAL Tech (California Institute of Technology)
Cornell* (Agriculture, Architecture, and Business)
CUNY (City University of New York – all campuses)
Hampshire College**
Loyola University of New Orleans
Reed College** (2-year trial)
University of Washington-Seattle UW* (1 year pilot for 2020-2021, scores may be advised for waitlisted students)
Washington State University WSU (1 year pilot for 2020-2021)

 

SCORE OPTIONAL SCHOOLS BY GEOGRAPHIC AREA (schools that have chosen to de-emphasize SAT/ACT testing as a qualifier for admissions)

*indicates a top 100 nationally ranked university

**indicates a nationally ranked small liberal arts college (some of which can be found as part of the Colleges that Change Lives www.ctcl.org)

 

TEXAS

Austin College**
Baylor University*
Hardin-Simmons
Howard Payne
Midwestern State
Rice*
Sam Houston State
SMU*
Southwestern**
St. Edward’s
Stephen F. Austin State
Tarleton State (may be requested if student doesn’t meet GPA requirements)
TCU*
Texas A&M* – most campuses, including College Station (some campuses may request scores if min GPA requirements aren’t met)
Texas Lutheran
Texas State University (may be requested if student doesn’t meet GPA requirements)
Texas Tech University
Trinity**
University of Dallas
University of Houston
University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, UMHB (may be requested if student doesn’t meet GPA requirements or for placement/advising purposes)
UNT (may be requested if student doesn’t meet GPA requirements)
UT Austin* – and most campuses (some campuses may request scores if min GPA requirements aren’t met)

 

SOUTH

Babson College**
Belmont University
Eckerd College**
Emory University*
Florida State College (Must submit COMPASS, CPAT, TABE, WAIS, Stanford Achievement Test, ASSET and/or college entrance exam if not submitting SAT/ACT scores)
Full Sail University
Loyola University New Orleans (test blind)
Mississippi State University
Oklahoma State
Rhodes**
Sewanee University of the South**
State College of Florida
Tulane*
University of Kentucky
University of Mississippi (Ole’ Miss) – must meet min GPA requirements
University of Oklahoma OU
University of the Ozarks
University of Tulsa
Vanderbilt*

 

WEST

All Cal State Universities CSU
All UC schools* (test blind ONLY FOR CAL residents)
Arizona State – min GPA requirements
Boise State
Bushnell University
California Institute of Technology CALTECH*
California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Chapman College
City University of Seattle
Claremont McKenna** (check for other schools in Claremont Consortium)
Colorado College**
Evergreen State**
George Fox University
Golden Gate University
Gonzaga*
Grand Canyon University (must meet min GPA)
Harvey-Mudd** (check other schools in Claremont Consortium)
Hawai’i Pacific University
Idaho State
Lewis and Clark College**
Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston ID
Loyola Marymount*
Multnomah University
Nevada State College
New Mexico State
Oregon State
Otis College of Art and Design
Pepperdine*
Pitzer**
Pomona College** (check other Claremont Consortium)
Portland State University
Reed College**
Santa Clara*
Scripps**
Seattle University
Stanford*
University of Alaska – mult. campuses
University of Arizona
University of Denver*
University of Idaho
University of Nevada
University of New Mexico
University of Oregon
University of Puget Sound**
University of Utah
University of Washington (UW – Udub)*
University of Wyoming
USC*
Washington State – mult. campuses
Western Governors University
Whitman College**

 

NORTHEAST

Albright College
Allegheny College**
Amherst**
Bard**
Barnard**
Bates**
Berklee College of Music
Boston College*
Boston University*
Bowdoin**
Brandeis*
Brown*
Bryn Mawr**
Bucknell**
Cambridge College
Carnegie Mellon*
Colby**
Colgate**
College of the Holy Cross**
Columbia University*
Connecticut College**
Cornell*
Dartmouth College*
Davis**
Dickinson College**
Drexel*
Eastern University
Emerson College
Fordham*
Franklin and Marshall**
George Washington*
Hamilton**
Hampshire College
Harvard*
Haverford**
Hobart and William Smith
Indiana University of Penn
Ithaca College
Julliard School
Marist
Mass College of Art and Design
Middlebury**
Mount Holyoke**
New School
Northeastern University*
NYU* (score flexible – choose which standardized tests to send including APs)
Pace University
Penn State – mult campuses
Penn State at Penn State*
Princeton University*
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute*
Rhode Island School of Design
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rutgers – Newark and Camden
Sarah Lawrence**
Skidmore**
Smith**
St. John’s University
SUNY – multiple campuses
Swarthmore**
Syracuse*
Temple University
Thomas Jefferson University
Trinity College**
Tufts University*
UMASS* – Amherst*, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell
University of Connecticut*
University of Delaware*
University of Maine (multiple campuses)
University of New Hampshire
University of Pittsburgh – mult. campuses
University of Rhode Island
University of Rochester*
University of Vermont
UPenn*
Vassar**
Villanova*
Washington and Jefferson
Wellesley**
Wesleyan**
Williams College**
Yale*

 

MID-ATLANTIC

American University*
College of William and Mary*
Davidson College**
Elon University**
George Mason
Georgetown*
Goucher**
Hampton University (must meet min GPA)
James Madison University
Johns Hopkins*
Loyola University Maryland
Maryland Institute of Art
Marymount University
Old Dominion
Queens University of Charlotte
Towson
University of Maryland*
University of Richmond**
UVA*
Virginia State
Virginia Tech*
Wake Forest*
Washington and Lee**

 

MIDWEST

Ball State
Beloit College
Bethel University
Carleton College**
Case Western Reserve*
Chicago State University
College of Wooster
Columbia College
Concordia University Chicago
Concordia University, St. Paul
DePaul University
Franklin University
Grinnell College**
Hillsdale College**
Illinois State University
Illinois Wesleyan University
Indiana State University – must meet GPA requirements
Indiana University* – Bloomington* and mult. campuses
Indiana Wesleyan
Knox College**
KState (meet min GPA)
Loyola University Chicago
Macalester College**
Marquette*
Michigan State*
Minnesota State
North Park University
Northwestern*
Oberlin College**
Ohio State University* – mult. campuses
Ohio University – mult. campuses
Ohio Wesleyan University
Purdue University
Ripon College
University of Chicago*
University of Cincinnati
University of Michigan – Flint campus (must meet min GPA)
University of Minnesota – mult. campuses
University of Missouri Mizzou – mult. campuses
University of Nebraska – mult. campuses
University of Notre Dame*
University of Wisconsin – mult. campuses
Valparaiso University
Washington University in St. Louis*
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