Top 100 Colleges That Are Test-Optional In 2024/25

03/03/20249 minute read
Top 100 Colleges That Are Test-Optional In 2024/25

For the 2024/25 application cycle, many great colleges still don't require the SAT/ACT! Test-optional and test-free colleges let you shine in other ways. Check out our top 100 list and tips on when to submit those scores (or not!).

Standardized tests like the SAT and ACT can be a significant source of stress for college-bound students. But what if there was a way to showcase your talents and get into a fantastic college without relying solely on those exams? That's where test-optional and test-free schools come in. These colleges empower you to put your best foot forward, with or without standardized test scores. While many schools embrace these policies, it's important to know that some colleges are reinstating test requirements.

In this guide, we'll cover:

  • The difference between test-optional and test-free colleges
  • How to decide whether submitting your SAT/ACT scores is the right move for you
  • A list of the top 100 colleges where your full potential shines through, not just a test score

Let's explore your options and unlock the door to your dream college!

The Changing Landscape of Testing Policies in 2024

While the trend towards test-optional and test-free admissions was strong in recent years, it's important to note that some colleges are reinstating SAT/ACT requirements. Notable examples include MIT, Yale, Dartmouth, and the entire public university systems of Georgia and Florida. This highlights the need to carefully research each college's current policy before applying.

Reasons for the Shift

  • Standardization: Some colleges find test scores provide a helpful way to compare students from diverse educational backgrounds.
  • Equity Concerns: With policies like Affirmative Action under review, some schools may want more standardized metrics for admissions.

What This Means for You

  • Stay Informed: Check the most up-to-date policies on each college's website. Admission websites change frequently!
  • Weigh Your Options: Even if a college is test-optional, submitting a strong score can bolster your application.
  • Be Strategic: Don't assume test-optional policies are permanent. This landscape is in flux.

What are Test-Optional & Test-Free Admission Policies?


A college that allows students to choose whether or not to submit SAT/ACT scores with their application. These colleges recognize that a single test score doesn't define your potential, and they'll focus on your grades, essays, activities, and other factors that showcase your academic readiness.


A college that will NOT consider SAT/ACT scores, even if you send them. These schools believe standardized tests can be biased and focus on a more holistic evaluation of applicants.

Test-Optional vs Test-Free
Student ChoiceMore control, BUT can cause decision anxietyRemoves the decision, but less flexibility
Score EmphasisHighlight good scores, downplay weak ones if the college truly values other factorsScores irrelevant, BUT strong testers lose a potential advantage
AvailabilityMore widespread, BUT some top schools still aren't test-optionalStill a growing trend, but trailblazer colleges can be exciting

Should you submit your scores to Test-Optional Colleges?

While grades, essays, and activities all showcase your potential, remember that some colleges still value standardized tests to compare applicants across different backgrounds. Consider these factors before deciding whether to submit your scores:

Questions to ask yourself

  • Is your score above the college's average?
  • Do other parts of your application outshine your score?
  • Does the college have a history of favoring strong test performers?
  • Can you improve your score?
  • Do any programs or scholarships at the college require test scores? Always check for these before deciding not to submit.

Additional Considerations

  • Strategic Planning: Even if you're unsure you'll submit scores, consider taking the SAT/ACT anyway. This keeps your options open if you later encounter a dream school that requires them. Plus, having those scores in hand might encourage you to submit them even to test-optional schools if they are impressive.
  • Holistic Review: Stress that test-optional colleges look at the whole person, so even if your score is lower, a compelling story and strong essays could carry you far. Highlight that your unique experiences, passions, and talents matter just as much (if not more) than a single test score.
  • Self-Advocacy: If you don't submit scores, be prepared to explain why in an optional essay or interview. Show that it was a conscious choice based on a clear understanding of your strengths and the college's values, not due to a lack of effort.

Top 100 Colleges That Don’t Require The SAT/ACT

According to FairTest’s website, a staggering 2,022 colleges in the US offer test-optional or test-free policies! This means you have more options than ever to find amazing schools that don't rely solely on a single test score. Below, we present our top 100 picks for this admission cycle.

Important Note:* Testing policies change frequently. Always double-check the most up-to-date information on each college's official website before applying.*

  • Amherst College
  • Art Center College of Design
  • Babson College
  • Bard College
  • Bates College
  • Bennington College
  • Boston College
  • Boston University
  • Bowdoin College
  • Brandeis University
  • Brigham Young University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • California State University
  • Carleton College
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Clemson University
  • Colby College
  • Colgate University
  • Colorado College
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Davidson College
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Grinnell College
  • Hamilton College
  • Hampshire College
  • Harvard University
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Haverford College
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Kenyon College
  • Lehigh University
  • Macalester College
  • Middlebury College
  • Michigan State University
  • New York University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Northeastern University
  • Northwestern University
  • Oberlin College
  • Ohio State University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Pitzer College
  • Pomona College
  • Princeton University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rice University
  • Rochester Institue of Technology
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Rutgers University
  • Santa Clara University
  • Scripps College
  • Skidmore College
  • Smith College
  • Stanford University
  • State University of New York (SUNY)
  • Swarthmore College
  • Texas A&M University
  • The College of Wooster
  • The Cooper Union
  • Trinity University
  • Tulane University
  • Tufts University
  • University of California
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Maine
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Massachusetts
  • University of Miami
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Richmond
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Texas
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Vassar College
  • Villanova University
  • Virginia Tech
  • Wake Forest University
  • Wellesley College
  • Wesleyan University
  • Williams College
  • William & Mary
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Final Thoughts

As the landscape of college admissions continues to evolve, test-optional and test-free policies offer students more flexibility and a more holistic approach to showcasing their unique strengths and potential. Remember, your academic journey is more than a single test score. It's about your passions, your perseverance, and the impact you want to make on the world.

Take Charge of Your Future

If you're considering test-optional colleges, don't let uncertainty hold you back. Embrace the opportunity to tell your full story – through your essays, activities, and recommendations. Highlight what truly makes you stand out.

Need a Helping Hand?

Navigating college admissions can be overwhelming. If you want personalized advice on whether to submit test scores or need help crafting a compelling application, our team of experienced college counselors is here to help. Book a free consultation with one of our college counselors today, and let us support you on this exciting journey. Your dream college awaits!

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