Top Colleges That Require SAT/ACT Scores In 2024/25

07/03/202410 minute read
Top Colleges That Require SAT/ACT Scores In 2024/25

College testing policies are in flux, but some schools still require the SAT/ACT. Always research your target colleges' latest requirements to make informed decisions about submitting scores.

Standardized tests like the SAT and ACT can be a valuable tool in the college admissions process. For some students, they are a way to demonstrate academic readiness and potential. It's essential to be aware of which colleges still require these exams. In this guide, we'll cover:

  • Why some colleges require the SAT/ACT
  • How to make the most of your test scores
  • A list of top schools where standardized tests are mandatory

Why Are Colleges Reinstating Standardized Testing?

While many colleges are still test-optional or test-free, others now consider the SAT/ACT an important part of the application process.

Notably, prestigious institutions like MIT, Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown have returned to requiring the SAT/ACT. Additionally, entire public university systems in Georgia and Florida have reinstated testing mandates. This trend might continue at other institutions, according to our college counselors.

Factors Informing the Return to Testing for College Admissions

  • Standardization: Tests provide a common metric to compare students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Equity Considerations: As policies like Affirmative Action are reviewed, some schools value standardized metrics to ensure a level playing field in the admissions process.
  • Scholarly Rigor: Strong test scores can signal a student's preparedness for college-level work.
  • Understanding a School's Priorities: Colleges that value test scores may use them to assess your academic readiness in the context of your high school's curriculum and grading practices.

What This Means for You

If you're applying to colleges that require the SAT/ACT, here's how to make your scores work for you:

  • Stay Informed: Always check each college's website for their most current testing policies.
  • Strategic Planning: Prepare for the SAT/ACT early to maximize your performance. This includes taking practice tests to identify your stronger exam and focusing your prep efforts accordingly.
  • Highlight Your Strengths: If testing is a strong suit, let your scores shine on your applications.

Researching SAT/ACT Scores for Your Target Schools

Before submitting your SAT/ACT scores, it's crucial to research score expectations at your target schools and how they factor into the admissions process.

Let's say you're targeting Yale. You expect applicants there probably score in very high ranges, but you want to know how high.

With a little online research, you'll find the following information, or something close to it, depending on the year in question. In this case we're using data on SAT English scores of Yale applicants for the class of 2028:

25th Percentile Scores: A score below 740 puts you in the 25th percentile, ranking you with the lowest 25% of Yale applicants that year who took the SAT.

75th Percentile Scores: A score above 780 puts you in the 75th percentile — the top 25% of Yale applicants that took the SAT — a good score in this highly competitive landscape.

Understanding Mid-Range Scores: Often test score ranges will be reported using a Middle 50% Range, indicating what score range puts you somewhere in the middle 50% of test takers.

Using the Yale example above, the Middle 50% Range would be scores between 740 and 780:

Below 740 you fall into the 25th percentile (bottom score range for Yale applicants);

Above 780 you get into the 75th percentile, putting you among the top 25% of Yale applicants for SAT English.

With these examples in mind, as you research SAT/ACT expectations for your target schools, consider the following:

  • The Middle 50% Range: Find the middle 50% range of SAT/ACT scores for admitted students on each college's website. This means 25% of admitted students scored below this range (25th percentile), and 25% scored above it (reaching the 75th percentile).
  • The Scoring Context: If your score falls within or above the middle 50% range, it likely strengthens your application. That said, to stand out at highly competitive schools, you'll ideally strive to attain a score in the 75th to 90th percentile range — in the top 25 percent to top 10 percent of applicants.
  • Score Importance: Does the college explicitly state that test scores are a significant factor? Look for language about considering scores holistically alongside other application components.
  • A Holistic Perspective: Worried your score falls below expectations? SAT/ACT scores can carry considerable weight, but most admissions committees look at applicants more holistically, eager to attract not just testing aces but individuals with diverse backgrounds, and aspirations, and the potential to make the most of the school's unique offerings.

Check out our blogs on:

Dear FAO, Will a 1350 on the SAT Get Me into One of the Top 10 Universities in the US?

Other Factors to Consider

While the information in this guide is a valuable starting point, remember that admissions requirements can vary within a single university. Here are some additional points to keep in mind:

  • Program-Specific Requirements: Certain competitive majors, such as engineering or some STEM fields, might still require test scores, even at schools that are otherwise test-optional.
  • Scholarship Eligibility: Some merit-based scholarships may have SAT/ACT score cutoffs. Always check the specific scholarship criteria alongside the college's general testing policy.

Thoroughly researching each college on your list and their specific program requirements is essential for making informed application decisions.

List of Colleges Requiring SAT/ACT Scores in 2024/25

Our college counselors closely track university admissions policies. Based on their insights, here's our list of top schools where submitting SAT/ACT scores is currently required or highly recommended for the 2024/25 admissions cycle:

Important Note: College testing policies can change frequently. Before applying, it's crucial to always double-check the most current requirements on each school's official website.

  1. Florida Atlantic University
  2. Florida Gulf Coast University
  3. Florida Institute of Technology
  4. Florida International University
  5. Florida State University
  6. Georgetown University
  7. Georgia College & State University
  8. Georgia Institute of Technology
  9. Louisiana State University
  10. Louisiana Tech University
  11. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  12. Purdue University
  13. Randall University
  14. United States Air Force Academy
  15. United States Merchant Marine Academy
  16. United States Military Academy
  17. United States Naval Academy
  18. University of Arkansas
  19. University of Central Florida
  20. University of Florida
  21. University of Georgia
  22. University of North Florida
  23. University of South Florida
  24. University of Tennessee

Colleges Reinstating Testing Requirements in the Near Future

A handful of colleges and universities that are test optional in 2024/25 have announced they won't remain test optional for long... These include several prominent Ivies, among other highly respected institutions.

Here's a list of schools with plans to reinstate SAT/ACT test requirements for admissions in the near future:

UniversityWhen Test Requirements Will Be Reinstated
HarvardFor enrollment in Fall of 2025 (Class of 2029)
BrownFor enrollment in Fall of 2025 (Class of 2029)
DartmouthFor enrollment in Fall of 2025 (Class of 2029)
Yale*For enrollment in Fall of 2025 (Class of 2029)
University of Texas, AustinFor enrollment in Fall of 2025 (Class of 2029)
CaltechFor enrollment in Fall of 2025 (Class of 2029)
StanfordFor enrollment in Fall of 2026 (Class of 2030)
University of Wisconsin, MadisonFor enrollment in Fall of 2028 (Class of 3032)
VanderbiltFor enrollment in Fall of 2028 (Class of 3032)

* Yale will be adopting a test-flexible policy. While the policy will still require students to submit test scores for admissions, students can satisfy the requirement by submitting scores from any of four options: SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement (AP), or International Baccalaureate (IB).

Important Note: College testing policies can change frequently. Before applying, it's crucial to always double-check the most current requirements on each school's official website.

Final Thoughts

While the testing landscape evolves, the SAT/ACT remain a key factor for some highly selective colleges. Understanding which schools value these exams is crucial for crafting a successful application strategy. Remember, strong test scores can be a powerful asset, showcasing your academic readiness and potential.

Take Charge of Your Future

Strategic preparation is essential if you're applying to colleges that require standardized tests. Maximize your performance by starting early and focusing on the exam that best suits your strengths. Let those scores be a testament to your hard work and determination.

Need a Helping Hand?

Navigating college admissions can be overwhelming, especially when standardized tests are a factor. Our experienced college counselors are here to help. Book a free consultation today if you need test prep guidance or want personalized advice on highlighting your strengths. Let us help you reach your dream college!

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