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Colleges that Don’t Require the SAT

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You have probably heard rumors about prestigious schools (U Chicago, Wake Forest, Brandeis, etc.) no longer requiring SAT scores from their applicants. While the content is certainly correct, the truth is, most of these news reports are misleading—not requiring SAT scores is by no means suggesting it’s easier to get into these prestigious school. In fact, the opposite may be true.

Although SAT-optional colleges do not ask for your test scores, those who do well on the test are more encouraged to include their scores in the application because the purpose of standardized tests—showcasing an applicant’s academic ability and potential—doesn’t change. Ultimately, what these schools are doing is giving YOU the power to present your strengths to admissions officers.

Here are some popular schools that SAT-optional (US News top 100)

National Universities:

School NameNotes
U Chicago 
Wake Forest University 
New York UniversityTest flexible
Brandeis University 
University of RochesterTest flexible
The George Washington University 
University of Texas, AustinTop 8% rule*
Worcester Polytechnic Institute 
American University 
Texas A&M UniversityTop 10% rule**
Clark University 
University of Delaware 
Drexel UniversityTest flexible

UT-Austin automatically admits students in the top 8 percent of their class
Texas A&M University automatically admits students in the top 10 percent of their class.

National Liberal Arts Colleges: 

School NameNotes
Bowdoin College 
Middlebury CollegeTest flexible
Colby CollegeTest flexible
Smith College 
Hamilton CollegeTest flexible
Wesleyan University 
Bates College 
Colorado CollegeTest flexible
Bryn Mawr 
College of the Holy Cross 
Pitzer College 
Mount Holyoke College 
Union College 
Franklin and Marshall College 
Sewanee–University of the South 
Skidmore College 
Whitman College 
Trinity College 
Bard College 
Connecticut College 
Denison University 
Gettysburg College 
Furman University 
St. John’s College 
Sarah Lawrence College 
Lawrence University 
St. Lawrence University 
Agnes Scott College 
Hobart and William Smith Colleges 
Earlham College 
University of Puget Sound 
Knox College 
Muhlenberg College 
Wofford College 
Beloit College 
Kalamazoo College 
Lewis and Clark 
St. John’s College 
Wheaton College 
Allegheny College 
Willamette University 
Gustavus Adolphus 
Bennington College 
Cornell College 
Transylvania University 
Austin College 
College of the Atlantic 
Ursinus College 
Washington College 

As you can see, most of the top liberal arts colleges are test-optional because they tend to place less emphasis on tests. Yet, most prestigious national universities still require your SAT score, including all Ivy League schools (Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, etc.), top-tier public schools (UC’s, U Michigan, etc), research institutions (MIT, Cal Tech, etc.), and other private schools (Stanford, Northwestern, etc.)

Because your college list will change as you do more college research and explore different programs, you should not limit yourself to schools that don’t require SAT scores. Plus, school policy may change from year to year, so you should keep your options open by prepping and taking the SAT/ACT first. After all, having a good test score never hurts; SAT and Subject Tests/AP Tests will be a strong component of your application that demonstrates your academic capabilities as an undergraduate, no matter which school you apply to.

Also in: 简中 (Simplified Chinese) 繁中 (Traditional Chinese)

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