US Test Optional Colleges-2024-25


To take or not to take? That is the question plaguing many students who are witnessing a few universities returning to standardized testing in the post-Covid era. In the last two months, Dartmouth College, Brown University, Yale University, and the entire public university system of Florida and Georgia have reinstated SAT/ACT for the application year 2024. Many universities, such as Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Cornell, are continuing with the test-optional policy for another year or two. This fragmented policy approach by universities is causing confusion and anxiety among students and parents, who are appointing SAT and ACT tutors at skyrocketing fees.  

Pause! There is good news for students who were looking forward to a test-optional application season in 2024. A large number of universities have decided to remain test-optional but not test-blind. Test-optional means schools don’t require you to submit the scores but will consider them in the admissions process. Does this mean that students have a choice about submitting their test scores? Yes. Will their application be considered incomplete by universities if they don’t? Absolutely not. 

In the scenario where a student has taken the SAT or ACT and achieved a score that is above the school’s average, it would be advisable to submit the score. This will certainly give a leg up to the student, enabling him or her to showcase intellectual vitality. But for some reason, if a student has not been able to get a goal score, it would be in the best interest of the applicant to refrain from submitting it. The key would then be to focus on the stronger aspects of the student’s profile and highlight those achievements. 

It is important to make a note of the test-optional colleges and to do some prior research before making a final decision regarding testing. In May 2020, “The University of California Board of Regents” unanimously voted to stop requiring the ACT and SAT as part of admissions applications. This remains unchanged for the current year. So, the good news is that if you’re applying to a UC school, you won’t have to submit your ACT or SAT scores.

As a quick reference for the readers, here is a list of 50 colleges that are test-optional for 2024–25.

1 Amherst College 26 Stanford University
2 Babson College 27 The State University of New York (SUNY)
3 Boston University 28 Swarthmore College
4 California Institute of Technology 29 Smith College
5 California State University 30 Texas A&M University
6 Carnegie Mellon University 31 Tufts University
7 Columbia University 32 University of California
8 Cornell University 33 University of Chicago
9 Duke University 34 University of Maine
10 Emory University 35 The University of Maryland
11 Harvey Mudd College 36 University of Massachusetts
12 Johns Hopkins University 37 University of Miami
13 Lehigh University 38 The University of Michigan
14 Michigan State University 39 University of Norte Dame
15 New York University 40 University of Southern California
16 North Carolina State University 41 University of Texas
17 Northeastern University 42 The University of Washington
18 Northwestern University 43 The University of Wisconsin
19 Princeton University 44 Vanderbilt University
20 Pepperdine University 45 Virginia Tech
21 Pomona College 46 Vassar College
22 Rice University 47 William & Mary
23 Rutgers University 48 Wake Forest University
24 Skidmore College 49 Wellesley College
25 Santa Clara University 50 Wesleyan University


Applying to US colleges requires careful planning. Since every student’s requirements are unique, it is best to consult their college counselor and admissions officers at colleges to determine the best course of action.


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