Colleges That Don’t Require the SAT or ACT

College student bubbling in an answer on a Scantron.

Flickr User: biologycorner

There are approximately 3,000 bachelor degree granting institutions in the United States. Approximately 28% of those schools are colleges that don’t require SAT or ACT test scores. Wait, what? You read that correctly. More than 850 accredited, degree granting institutions don’t require your test scores. That sounds pretty good, right? Before you scoff at the idea or think the schools adopting this method are less than, think again. A notable school adopting this policy is George Washington University. This private, research based university boasts some pretty impressive alumni. Jacqueline Kennedy, Colin Powell, Kerry Washington, J. William Fulbright, to name a few.

Here you will find a list of 180+ accredited schools that are ranked in the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Guide (2015 edition.)

Some of the most notable colleges that don’t require SAT or ACT test scores are:

National Schools

National Liberal Arts

  • Bowdoin College (#5)
  • Middlebury College (#7)
  • Wesleyan University (#15)

National Universities

  • Wake Forest University (#27)
  • New York University (#32)
  • University of Rochester (#33)

Regional Universities


  • Providence College (#2)
  • College of New Jersey (#3)
  • Fairfield University (#3)


  • Rollins College (#2)
  • Stetson University (#6)
  • University of Mary Washington (#13)


  • Drake University (#3)
  • Baldwin-Wallace College (#14)
  • University of Wisconsin–Whitewater (#48)


  • Whitworth University (#9)
  • California State Univ. – Chico (#35)
  • San Jose State University (#38)

Regional Colleges


  • Elizabethtown College (#4)
  • Lebanon Valley College (#6)
  • University of Scranton (#7)


  • Catawba College (#16)
  • Belmont Abbey College (#37)
  • Keiser University (#40)


  • Olivet College (#47)
  • Dunwoody College of Technology (#64)


  • Oklahoma Wesleyan University (#6)
  • St. Gregory’s University (#25)

This may sound great as a student, but why would colleges do this? Well, it garners them more applications. Students will love the fact that they don’t have to deal with time, money, and stress of taking a test so they’ll apply to schools that don’t require them. However, there will still be students who take the test for a variety of reasons and apply to these schools. In an ideal situation, the schools average ACT/SAT score will rise, leading them to higher rankings and more perks for the school. Of course, that’s a pretty cynical and cold viewpoint.

From a compassionate side, some students just don’t test well. We all know someone, or are someone, who gets good grades, enjoys learning, but shudders at the thought of taking a standardized tests. Students perform poorly on a test for a variety of reasons–but should that stop them from getting a college degree and contributing big things toward society? Apparently these schools don’t think so. These schools want to see your grades, your leadership, your activities, your interests, and your passion for attending this school. They believe they can gauge or intelligence–or aptitude to excel on campus from these things alone, no test needed.

Set aside the fact that students perform poorly on the test, what if they can’t afford the test? We aren’t even simply speaking the test fee. Students from wealthy families can pay for tutors, online sites guaranteed to improve your score, and many other factors. Their scores rise while low income students scores don’t. That can be an issue. Without requiring a test, students have a more equal playing field. Their evaluation is on their true ability and personality, not resources.

So whether you believe in the test or not, you have options. For those who cannot or will not take a standardized test, they no longer have to forgo the college dream. For those who believe standardized testing is around for a reason, they are still the majority. It’s nice to see there is a side for everyone.

One thought on “Colleges That Don’t Require the SAT or ACT”

  1. Adam says:

    California State University, Chico does require test scores. Here’s the link for more info on applying:

Comments are closed.