List of Test-Optional Colleges for 2020-2021

In light of the COVID-19 health crisis, many standardized test dates were cancelled or postponed. As a result, many schools have decided not to require test scores in their application process this year. 

 

If you’re unsure which colleges have made this change, we’ve put together a handy list of test-optional schools for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.

 

Should You Still Take the SAT/ACT?

 

Taking the SAT or ACT will never hurt your chances. If you’re decently prepared and have the opportunity to take the SAT or ACT, you should do it! Remember, with many schools adopting a test-optional policy, you only have to submit your scores if they’re excellent.

 

Submitting a good score will definitely help your case—between two applicants with similar profiles, the one with a good standardized test score will likely be chosen.

 

Although most schools are test-optional for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, some schools still require students to submit standardized test scores at some point in the admissions process or highly encourage it. Make sure you’re prepared to submit scores if your school still requires it. 

 

As always in the time of COVID-19, your health and safety is the highest priority—if taking the SAT or ACT endangers your or your family, it’s not worth it. 

 

What about SAT Subject Tests?

 

If you’re planning on applying to a top 20 liberal arts college or university, you might benefit from sending outstanding scores on 2-3 SAT Subject Tests. 

 

However, they are absolutely not necessary; most top colleges are test-optional this year, and the Subject Tests have become less important to the admissions process over time. In fact, some schools, such as Amherst and Yale, will not even review Subject Test scores for the 2020-2021 cycle, even if you have them.

 

Should You Submit Your Scores? 

 

Here’s our general guideline:

 

  • SAT: submit as long as your score is within 60 points of the 25th percentile score for accepted students.
  • ACT: Submit as long as your score is within 3 points of the 25th percentile score for accepted students.

 

If your scores are lower than that, don’t submit them. Submitting scores well below the 25th percentile will likely do more harm than good for your application.

 

If you were unable to take the SAT or ACT, you can definitely mention that in the COVID-19 “additional information” section of your application. Just explain your situation clearly and succinctly, whether it was canceled test dates or health concerns.

 

We have a whole guide on how to approach the SAT/ACT in the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, so check that out for more info.

 

Test-Optional vs. Test-Blind

 

With so many schools going test-optional this year, it’s important to know precisely what that means, and how it’s different from test-blind.

 

When a school is test-optional, it means that standardized test scores are not required as part of a student’s application. However, these schools will still review test scores if they’re submitted—and make their decision accordingly. If you and another applicant have very similar profiles, but the other applicant has submitted a test-score on par with other admitted students’ scores and you haven’t submitted test scores, the other applicant will most likely be chosen.

 

On the other hand, test-blind schools will not look at standardized test scores, even if you send them. Very few schools are test-blind, but one notable one is Caltech, which is test-blind for 2020-2022 (two admissions cycles). 

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

Top 150 List of Test-Optional Universities for 2020-2021

 

Schools with a test-blind policy are marked with an asterisk on the following lists of test-optional schools for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.

 

Also, keep in mind that some of these schools were test-optional before the pandemic, and are remaining so for this admissions cycle. Some schools are also extending their test-optional policies for the 2021-2022 cycle. Don’t forget to double-check the test policy for the schools you’re applying for, as circumstances may change throughout the year.

 

School Name U.S. News Ranking Location
Princeton University 1 Princeton, NJ
Harvard University 2 Cambridge, MA
Columbia University 3 New York, NY
MIT 3 Cambridge, MA
Yale University 3 New Haven, CT
Stanford University 6 Stanford, CA
UChicago 6 Chicago, IL
UPenn 8 Philadelphia, PA
Caltech* (test-blind) 9 Pasadena, CA
Johns Hopkins University 9 Baltimore, MD
Northwestern University 9 Evanston, IL
Duke University 12 Durham, NC
Dartmouth College 13 Hanover, NH
Brown University 14 Providence, RI
Vanderbilt University 14 Nashville, TN
Rice University 16 Houston, TX
Washington University in
St. Louis
16 St. Louis, MO
Cornell University 18 Ithaca, NY
University of Notre Dame 19 Notre Dame, IN
UCLA 20 Los Angeles, CA
Emory University 21 Atlanta, GA
UC Berkeley* (test-blind for in-state applicants) 22 Berkeley, CA
Georgetown University 23 Washington, DC
University of MIchigan–Ann Arbor 24 Ann Arbor, MI
University of Southern California 24 Los Angeles, CA
Carnegie Mellon University 26 Pittsburgh, PA
University of Virginia 26 Charlottesville, VA
University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill 28 Chapel Hill, NC
Wake Forest University 28 Winston-Salem, NC
New York University 30 New York, NY
Tufts University 30 Medford, MA
University of California–Santa Barbara* 30 Santa Barbara, CA
University of Rochester 34 Rochester, NY
Boston College 35 Chestnut Hill, MA
Georgia Institute of Technology 35 Atlanta, GA
University of California–Irvine 35 Irvine, CA
University of California–San Diego 35 La Jolla, CA
University of California–Davis 39 Davis, CA
William & Mary 39 Williamsburg, VA
Tulane University 41 New Orleans, LA
Boston University 42 Boston, MA
Brandeis University 42 Waltham, MA
Case Western Reserve University 42 Cleveland, OH
University of Texas at Austin 42 Austin, TX
University of Wisconsin–Madison 42 Madison, WI
University of Georgia 47 Athens, GA
University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign 47 Champaign, IL
Lehigh University 49 Bethlehem, PA
Northeastern University 49 Boston, MA
Pepperdine University 49 Malibu, CA
University of Miami 49 Coral Gables, FL
Ohio State University–Columbus 53 Columbus, OH
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 53 Troy, NY
Santa Clara University 53 Santa Clara, CA
Villanova University 53 Villanova, PA
Syracuse University 58 Syracuse, NY
University of Maryland–College Park 58 College Park, MD
University of Pittsburgh–Pittsburgh Campus 58 Pittsburgh, PA
University of Washington 58 Seattle, WA
Pennsylvania State University–University Park 63 University Park, PA
Rutgers University–New Brunswick 63 Piscataway, NJ
University of Connecticut 63 Storrs, CT
Fordham University 66 New York, NY
George Washington University 66 Washington, DC
Loyola Marymount University 66 Los Angeles, CA
Southern Methodist University 66 Dallas, TX
Texas A&M University 66 College Station, TX
University of Massachusetts–Amherst 66 Amherst, MA
University of Minnesota–Twin Cities 66 Minneapolis, MN
Worcester Polytechnic Institute 66 Worcester, MA
Clemson University 74 Clemson, SC
Virginia Tech 74 Blacksburg, VA
American University 76 Washington, DC
Baylor University 76 Waco, TX
Indiana University–Bloomington 76 Bloomington, IN
Yeshiva University 76 New York, NY
Brigham Young University–Provo 80 Provo, UT
Gonzaga University 80 Spokane, WA
Howard University 80 Washington, DC
Michigan State University 80 East Lansing, MI
North Carolina State University 80 Raleigh, NC
Stevens Institute of Technology 80 Hoboken, NJ
Texas Christian University 80 Fort Worth, TX
University of Denver 80 Denver, CO
Binghamton University–SUNY 88 Binghamton, NY
Colorado School of Mines 88 Golden, CO
Elon University 88 Elon, NC
Marquette University 88 Milwaukee, WI
Stony Brook University–SUNY 88 Stony Brook, NY
University of Buffalo–SUNY 88 Buffalo, NY
University of California–Riverside 88 Riverside, CA
University of Iowa 88 Iowa City, IA
University of San Diego 88 San Diego, CA
Auburn University 97 Auburn, AL
University of Arizona 97 Tucson, AZ
University of California–Merced 97 Merced, CA
University of California–Santa Cruz 97 Santa Cruz, CA
University of Delaware 97 Newark, DE
University of Utah 97 Salt Lake City, UT
Arizona State University–Tempe 103 Tempe, AZ
Clark University 103 Worcester, MA
Miami University–Oxford 103 Oxford, OH
Saint Louis University 103 St. Louis, MO
Temple University 103 Philadelphia, PA
University of Colorado Boulder 103 Boulder, CO
University of Oregon 103 Eugene, OR
University of San Francisco 103 San Francisco, CA
Creighton University 112 Omaha, NE
Loyola University Chicago 112 Chicago, IL
Rochester Institute of Technology 112 Rochester, NY
University of Illinois–Chicago 112 Chicago, IL
University of La Verne 112 La Verne, CA
University of Tennessee 112 Knoxville, TN
Iowa State University 118 Ames, IA
New Jersey Institute of Technology 118 Newark, NJ
Rutgers University–Newark 118 Newark, NJ
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 118 Syracuse, NY
University of South Carolina 118 Columbia, SC
University of Vermont 118 Burlington, VT
Chapman University 124  Orange, CA
DePaul University 124 Chicago, IL
Drake University 124 Des Moines, IA
Illinois Institute of Technology 124 Chicago, IL
Seattle University 124 Seattle, WA
University of Missouri 124 Columbia, MO
Drexel University 133 Philadelphia, PA
The New School 133 New York, NY
Seton Hall University 133 South Orange, NJ
Simmons University 133 Boston, MA
University of Dayton 133 Dayton, OH
University of Kentucky 133 Lexington, KY
University of Nebraska–Lincoln 133 Lincoln, NE
University of Oklahoma 133 Norman, OK
University of St. Thomas (MN) 133 St. Paul, MN
University of the Pacific 133 Stockton, CA
The Catholic University of America* 143 Washington, DC
Duquesne University 143 Pittsburgh, PA
George Mason University 143 Fairfax, VA
Samford University 143 Birmingham, AL
San Diego State University* 143 San Diego, CA
University of Cincinnati 143 Cincinnati, OH
University of New Hampshire 143 Durham, NH
University of Texas at Dallas 143 Richardson, TX
University of Tulsa 143 Tulsa, OK
Colorado State University 153  Fort Collins, CO

 

Top 50 List of Test-Optional Liberal Arts Colleges for 2020-2021

 

School Name U.S. News Ranking Location
Williams College 1 Williamstown, MA
Amherst College 2 Amherst, MA
Swarthmore College 3 Swarthmore, PA
Pomona College 4 Claremont, CA
Wellesley College 4 Wellesley, MA
Bowdoin College 6 Brunswick, ME
Claremont McKenna College 6 Claremont, CA
Carleton College 9 Northfield, MN
Hamilton College 9 Clinton, NY
Middlebury College 9 Middlebury, VT
Washington and Lee University 9 Lexington, VA
Grinnell College 13 Grinnell, IA
Vassar College 13 Poughkeepsie, NY
Colby College 15 Waterville, ME
Davidson College 15 Davidson, NC
Haverford College 15 Haverford, PA
Smith College 15 Northampton, MA
Colgate University 20 Hamilton, NY
Wesleyan University 20 Middletown, CT
Barnard College 22 New York, NY
Bates College 22 Lewiston, ME
University of Richmond 22 Richmond, VA
Colorado College 25 Colorado Springs, CO
Harvey Mudd College 25 Claremont, CA
Macalester College 27 St. Paul, MN
Bryn Mawr College 28 Bryn Mawr, PA
Kenyon College 28 Gambier, OH
Scripps College 28 Claremont, CA
Soka University of America 28 Aliso Viejo, CA
Berea College 33 Berea, KY
Bucknell University 34 Lewisburg, PA
Mount Holyoke College 34 South Hadley, MA
College of the Holy Cross 36 Worcester, MA
Oberlin College 36 Oberlin, OH
Pitzer College 36 Claremont, CA
Skidmore College 36 Saratoga Springs, NY
Lafayette College 40 Easton, PA
Occidental College 40 Los Angeles, CA
Thomas Aquinas College 40 Santa Paula, CA
Franklin & Marshall College 43 Lancaster, PA
Denison University 44 Granville, OH
Trinity College 44 Hartford, CT
Union College (NY) 44 Schenectady, NY
DePauw University 47 Greencastle, IN
Dickinson College* 47 Carlisle, PA
The University of the South 47 Sewanee, TN
Whitman College 47 Walla, Walla, WA
Connecticut College 51 New London, CT

 

Want to know your chances of acceptance at your top schools? Even if you’re applying test-optional, our chancing engine will let you know your odds of admission, and give you expert tips to improve your chances. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account to give it a try!

Want more tips on improving your academic profile?

We'll send valuable information to help you strengthen your profile and get ready for college admissions.


Alura Chung-Mehdi
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Alura Chung-Mehdi graduated from Amherst College with a degree in English. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking, rock climbing, and daydreaming.