Colleges That Don’t Require SAT Or ACT?

Since their rise to prominence in the 1930s and 1960s, the SAT and ACT have served as customary rites of passage for ambitious college candidates. However, a significant shift occurred in recent years as more than a thousand institutions embraced a test-optional approach. For further insights into colleges that have waived the requirement for SAT or ACT scores, continue reading.

Historically, college admissions predominantly revolved around numerical metrics. Students needed impressive GPAs and standardized test results to secure admission to their desired universities. Notably, SAT/ACT scores played a crucial role in evaluating their college readiness.

In modern times, colleges have recognized that individual scores fail to fully represent students’ capabilities in isolation, leading to the test-optional trend. With a focus on fostering inclusivity and broadening access, numerous institutions have moved away from considering standardized test scores during admissions.

Ultimately, the decision to submit these scores rests with each student, ensuring no one faces a disadvantage. If the prospect of taking these exams fills you with apprehension or you believe they inadequately reflect your academic prowess, continue reading to discover the leading test-optional colleges in 2024.

15 Colleges That Don’t Require SAT Or ACT In The US

If you are interested in the number of colleges that have adopted a test-optional approach, there are several, including the highly esteemed Harvard University. It is encouraging that many prestigious institutions have embraced this policy, ensuring that a top-tier education remains accessible even without specific standardized test scores. Here is a list of 15 of the most reputable test-optional schools:

1) Princeton University

Princeton University, the top-ranked college in the nation, has implemented a test-optional policy to make the admission process more approachable for prospective students. Renowned for its academic excellence, historic standing, and vibrant campus community, Princeton offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs across several disciplines.

2) Harvard University

Harvard University has extended its test-optional policy until at least 2026, making admission to this prestigious institution more feasible. With an acceptance rate of 3.4%, Harvard is committed to admitting the most exceptional students and fostering innovation through state-of-the-art facilities and extensive resources.

3) Yale University

As an Ivy League institution, Yale University’s decision not to need SAT or ACT scores for admission may surprise some. Regardless, gaining admission to Yale remains highly competitive, with an acceptance rate of 4.4%. While applicants are encouraged to submit test scores if available, those who choose not to will still be evaluated fairly.

4) The University of Chicago

Despite its stringent admissions criteria and a selective acceptance rate of 5%, the University of Chicago has implemented a test-optional policy to cater to students who feel that standardized tests may not comprehensively showcase their capabilities. Situated in the vibrant city of Chicago, UChicago provides a challenging academic environment and numerous research opportunities.

5) Johns Hopkins University

Recognizing that student excellence cannot be captured by a single score, Johns Hopkins University will remain test-optional until 2026. This decision is also influenced by the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on standardized testing availability. Renowned for its esteemed academic standards and innovative research endeavors, Johns Hopkins University provides top-tier programs and a wide array of opportunities for its student body.

6) University of Pennsylvania 

Until at least the 2024 application cycle, the University of Pennsylvania continues to uphold a test-optional policy. This adjustment may enhance your chances of being among the 4.1% of successful applicants at this esteemed institution. UPenn distinguishes itself as more than just an Ivy League school; it’s a close-knit community brimming with vitality and creativity.

Upholding a strong commitment to diversity, you will engage with a diverse student body, each contributing unique perspectives and passions. Access top-notch resources and esteemed faculty members leading their respective fields. Situated in Philadelphia, UPenn provides abundant opportunities for internships, networking, and personal growth.

7) Duke University

You are not needed to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission to Duke University. However, to be among the 6% of accepted students, a stellar application is essential. 

For those interested in research, Duke offers access to state-of-the-art facilities and opportunities to collaborate with faculty on innovative projects. With distinguished programs in engineering, business, law, and the sciences, along with a robust liberal arts curriculum, Duke provides a diverse range of academic offerings.

8) Northwestern University

Submitting your SAT or ACT scores to Northwestern University will be considered optional through at least the 2024 admission cycle. Should you opt to provide scores, it is important to note that Northwestern does not favor one test over the other. 

As one of the esteemed and discerning institutions in the nation, Northwestern boasts an acceptance rate of 7%. Should you secure admission within this 7%, you can anticipate engaging in a vibrant community marked by innovation, collaboration, and plethora of opportunities.

Northwestern University upholds a distinguished academic standing. From its esteemed journalism and communication programs to its prestigious schools of engineering, business, and beyond, the university offers a rich array of academic disciplines to delve into.

Its commitment to interdisciplinary learning enables students to forge connections between ideas and perspectives across various fields, fostering a comprehensive educational experience.

9) Dartmouth College

Dartmouth provides undergraduate applicants with the option to decide on submitting their SAT or ACT scores, fostering a comprehensive approach to application assessment. With its competitive 6% acceptance rate, this flexibility may ease students’ minds, allowing them to dedicate additional time and effort to enhancing other aspects of their application while maintaining a strong GPA.

Dartmouth stands out as an optimal choice for students seeking a quaint, small-town ambiance. Situated in the charming town of Hanover, New Hampshire, the campus offers students the benefits of a tight-knit community alongside the resources of a prominent university.

10) Brown University 

Brown University will maintain its test-optional policy for the 2024 admissions cycle. This approach promotes fairness in the admissions process, aligning with Brown’s value of individuality. 

At Brown, students are welcomed into a diverse community that fosters interdisciplinary learning. With the flexibility of the open curriculum, students can craft their academic journey, exploring various subjects to align with their interests and aspirations. 

Similar to other institutions, Brown maintains a competitive edge, boasting an acceptance rate of 5%.

11) Vanderbilt University

Another university that does not mandate SAT or ACT scores for admission is Vanderbilt. With a selective acceptance rate of 4.2%, prospective students will appreciate the option to bypass these standardized tests for enrollment.

Upon securing a spot at Vanderbilt, individuals can take advantage of its comprehensive academic curricula, accomplished faculty members, and intimate class settings conducive to tailored learning experiences and meaningful engagement with professors and peers. In addition to its academic offerings, Vanderbilt presents a diverse range of extracurricular activities and fosters a lively and inclusive campus environment.

12) Rice University

Standardized test scores are not mandatory for admission to Rice University. Applicants who choose not to submit SAT or ACT scores will still receive thorough consideration for one of the limited spots in the 7.7% acceptance rate. 

At Rice University, prepare to become part of a tightly-knit community that cherishes curiosity, innovation, and diversity. The university provides a wide array of academic programs spanning various disciplines, encompassing STEM, humanities, social sciences, and the arts. 

Situated in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States, Rice University offers students unparalleled career prospects and networking opportunities.

13) Cornell University

Cornell University does not mandate students to furnish SAT or ACT scores for admission consideration. This policy may prompt individuals to overlook the 7% acceptance rate. Cornell designates certain schools as “score-free,” indicating a complete non-requirement of scores, while others are classified as test-optional, implying that scores are reviewed only if submitted.

What distinguishes Cornell is its distinctive combination of academic rigor and interdisciplinary cooperation. As an esteemed Ivy League institution with renowned professional schools, Cornell offers a comprehensive education that equips students to effect positive change on a global scale.

14) Columbia University

Columbia University will remain test-optional until 2024. Despite the notable acceptance rate of 3.9%, the knowledge that standardized tests are not required may enhance your application process. 

Renowned for its distinguished campus and vibrant urban environment, Columbia provides a distinctive collegiate atmosphere that harmonizes academic excellence with the dynamism of New York City. The university fosters a diverse and accomplished community of students and faculty dedicated to making a positive impact on society. 

Columbia is recognized as an intellectual center that promotes innovation and challenges conventional norms. It presents a wide array of academic prospects tailored to diverse interests.

15) The University of Notre Dame

For the application cycles of 2024 and 2025, the University of Notre Dame has implemented a test-optional policy. This esteemed institution is part of the numerous colleges that have waived the requirement for SAT or ACT scores.

Notre Dame boasts an acceptance rate of 11.9% and is renowned for its picturesque campus featuring the iconic Golden Dome, Gothic architecture, and expansive green areas. The university’s commitment to faith-based principles is evident throughout its academic programs, extracurricular offerings, and vibrant community.

Other Schools Free From SAT or ACT Scores For Admission

We have compiled a selection of prestigious colleges that offer admissions without SAT or ACT scores, presenting an opportunity to gain entry into Ivy League institutions without the need for standardized testing. Should you intend to apply to a test-optional college, we present an additional 25 options for your consideration.

School Test-Optional Policy Duration Acceptance Rate

The acceptance rates across various universities are as follows:

  • University of California Schools range from 8.8% (UCLA) to 70.3% (UC Riverside).
  • Carnegie Mellon University has an acceptance rate of 11% until at least 2024.
  • Emory University’s acceptance rate is 11% until at least 2024.
  • New York University has an acceptance rate of 8% until at least 2023-2024.
  • University of Michigan’s acceptance rate is 18% until at least 2024.
  • University of Southern California has an acceptance rate of 10% until at least 2023-2024.
  • University of Virginia’s acceptance rate stands at 19% until at least 2025.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has an acceptance rate of 16.8% until at least 2024.
  • Wake Forest University has an indefinite acceptance rate of 20%.
  • Tufts University’s acceptance rate is 10.1% until at least 2024.
  • Boston College maintains a 15.5% acceptance rate until at least 2023-2024.

For Test-optional Policies

  • University of Texas at Austin’s acceptance rate is 31% until at least 2023-2024.
  • University of Wisconsin has an acceptance rate of 49% until at least 2025.
  • Boston University’s acceptance rate stands at 14% until at least 2026.
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has an acceptance rate of 43.7% until at least 2023-2024.
  • William & Mary University has an indefinite acceptance rate of 33%.
  • Brandeis University also has an indefinite acceptance rate of 39%.
  • Case Western Reserve University has a 27% acceptance rate until at least 2024.
  • Northeastern University’s acceptance rate is 5.6% until at least 2024.
  • Tulane University has a 14% acceptance rate until at least 2023-2024.
  • The Ohio State University maintains a 53% acceptance rate until at least 2025.
  • Lehigh University has a 37% acceptance rate until at least 2023-2024.
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has an acceptance rate of 65% until at least 2024.

Hopefully, the presence of numerous outstanding schools that do not mandate SAT or ACT scores can help alleviate some of your stress, making the application process less intimidating. Be sure to stay informed about each of these institutions in case their test-optional policies evolve during your admission cycle.

In a test-free college, SAT or ACT scores are not considered for admissions decisions. TThis distinguishes itself from a test-optional college, where standardized test scores are not required but can be included to enhance applications, potentially bolstering their strength.

What Pros and Cons of Submitting Test Scores to Colleges

For schools with test-optional policies, weigh these considerations before submitting your scores:


• Application enhancement: Competitive ACT/SAT scores can compensate for weaknesses in your application.

• Scholarships: Merit-based scholarships may rely on ACT/SAT scores.

• Transparent evaluation: Scores provide insights into academic preparedness.


• Application impact: Subpar scores compared to the school’s median can diminish your application.

• Increased stress: ACT/SAT preparation demands time and dedication, adding to application stress.

Evaluate if submitting scores truly benefits your application. Otherwise, focus on other application components.


1. What Online Colleges Don’t Need SAT or ACT?

Several online universities, including the University of Chicago and Arizona State University, offer test-optional degrees.

2. Is the SAT Still Required for 2024?

While many schools no longer require SAT scores, some institutions still do. Research each school’s requirements.

3. Do Most Colleges Still Need SAT or ACT?

Most colleges are shifting to test-optional policies.

4. Should I Still Submit Our Test Scores If a School Is Test-Optional?

The decision to submit scores depends on your belief in their value to your application.

5. Will Not Submitting Test Scores Effect My Chances of Admission?

Test-optional schools evaluate applicants holistically, focusing on various application aspects.

Final Thoughts

With many colleges going test-optional, applications now emphasize more than just academics. Choose whether to take these exams based on your circumstances, knowing you have the flexibility to make an informed decision. With the right amount of research and preparation, you can excel in your college admissions journey without SAT or ACT scores.