Are SAT and ACT Still Important in 2023-2024 College Admissions Cycle?

More and more colleges are becoming test-optional — they allow applicants to decide whether or not they will submit their standardized test scores. You are about to gear up for the SAT or ACT or you just got your scores, and now you may be wondering if it’s necessary for you to take the test or submit those official scores.

SAT and ACT scores are important in the 2022-2023 college admissions cycle when applying to test-required schools. As a matter of fact, especially if they’re high, standardized test scores can be beneficial when applying to test-optional institutions. They don’t count only when applying to test-blind colleges.

Wondering if you should take the SAT or ACT or whether or not you should submit your scores? Read on.

This post will cover practically everything that graduating high school teens need to know about applying to test-required, test-optional and test-blind institutions, in particular when it comes to including their standardized test scores in their applications — at times it’s a good idea to submit them, at other times it’s not.

SAT

Which Colleges are Test-Optional?

Some colleges and universities have been test-optional for a long time already. As a matter of fact, many of them permanently enact such an admissions policy. There are also those that have become test-optional only until recently, some of which are only for certain high school classes or admissions cycles.

If the school says it’s test-optional, it means that it’s completely up to you to decide whether you will submit your SAT or ACT scores or simply hush up about them. In a few, I will tell you when and when not to submit test scores when applying to a test-optional college — so don’t stop reading now!

Here’s a list of test-optional schools I prepared for you.

When Should You Submit Your SAT or ACT Scores?

Students applying to test-required colleges should submit their SAT or ACT scores. They should submit all scores from different test dates if the schools they are applying to superscore standardized test scores. When applying to test-optional schools, SAT or ACT scores should be submitted only if high.

If you are planning on attending a college or university with a test-required admissions policy, you have no other choice but to take the SAT or ACT and submit your scores, too.

Otherwise, the institution will not consider your application when it’s time to review it.

You may or may not submit your standardized test scores, on the other hand, if you are applying to a test-optional school. Just like what its admissions policy explains, submitting SAT or ACT scores is totally optional. Fret not as you will not be disadvantaged in the admissions process should you decide to keep those scores you got a secret.

However, it’s important to note that, since admissions officers have one less data point available to them through which they could get to know your academic ability or potential more, they will focus elsewhere.

And this means using the rest of your application in coming up with your much-awaited admissions decision!

Even though the college or university you wish to apply to is test-optional, there are instances when submitting your SAT or ACT scores is a smarter move than keeping them under wraps. Even if a school has a test-optional admissions policy, it doesn’t mean right away that they do not consider SAT or ACT scores important.

If you meet one or any of the following conditions, it’s probably a much better idea for you to submit your standardized test scores for they might help increase your admissions chances:

Strong numbers

Access the school’s Common Data Set (CDS) from the last admissions cycle and look up the range of the SAT or ACT scores of admitted students. If your composite standardized test score is in the upper part or even above the middle 50, which is the range of scores between the 25th percentile and 75th percentile, you should submit it.

Absence of other scores

Other than the SAT or ACT scores, most colleges and universities ask hopefuls to submit other scores. Some of them include AP and IB test scores. If you have none of them, it’s a good idea to submit your standardized test scores in order to help make your application stronger — admissions officers love seeing numbers, especially high ones.

Submission is recommended

On their websites, test-optional institutions say that applicants may or may not provide their SAT or ACT scores. Many of them also say that no one will be penalized for not submitting theirs. But then there are also those that add that they recommend submitting scores nonetheless, which is a sign that you should consider making a submission.

Showing your college readiness as well as what you are truly capable of is the goal for presenting your standardized test scores. But if they can weaken rather than strengthen your application, then it’s a much better idea to keep them undisclosed, particularly if applicants can decide whether or not to submit.

You should not submit those SAT or ACT scores to a test-optional school if:

  • The composite score does not fall within the upper middle 50 range for the last admitted class
  • It does not serve as a reflection of your academic performance in high school

The only time you should keep your SAT or ACT score to yourself no matter if it’s impressively high or embarrassingly low is if the school you are applying to has a test-blind admissions policy.

Well, technically, you can submit them — but the admissions officers will not look at those scores of yours.

Are There Colleges That Do Not Require SAT or ACT Scores?

Colleges and universities that do not require applicants to submit their official SAT or ACT scores are referred to as test-blind schools. Also sometimes referred to as test-free schools, these institutions do not consider standardized test scores during the admissions process even if applicants submit them.

Test-optional schools will consider SAT or ACT scores if they are submitted.

At institutions with a test-blind admissions policy, standardized test scores are not taken into account in the admissions process, which is why hopefuls are not required to submit theirs.

SAT and ACT for test optional schools

Even if you have very high SAT or ACT scores, it’s pointless to submit them. So, in other words, they will not help increase your admissions chances. At test-blind schools, admissions officers would much rather make admissions decisions according to various parts of a student’s application, with the exception of standardized test scores.

Here’s an updated list of US colleges and universities that are test-blind.

Please do take note that just because a school is test-blind today doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be test-blind for good. If truth be told, the vast majority of the institutions mentioned above are test-blind only within a provided time period. Some of them are until 2023 only, while others are until 2024.

But then there are also those that are permanently test-blind. Some of them are Hampshire College, Loyola University New Orleans, Northern Illinois University, Washington State University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Are There Colleges That Require SAT or ACT scores?

While there are colleges and universities that are either test-optional or test-blind, there are also those where all applicants must submit their SAT or ACT scores. In most instances, it’s for their applications to be considered by the admissions officers. There are times, too, when it’s for scholarship purposes.

If an institution requires applicants to submit their SAT or ACT scores, you have no other choice but to provide yours. It goes without saying that failure to comply will result in your application not being considered by the college.

Fortunately, there are only a handful of schools in the US with a test-required admissions policy:

  • Alderson-Broaddus College
  • Art Academy of Cincinnati
  • Blue Mountain College
  • Cameron University
  • Castleton State College
  • City College of New York
  • Dallas Christian College
  • Fairmont State University
  • Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
  • Fort Valley State University
  • Georgetown University
  • Howard Payne University
  • Kentucky Christian University
  • Long Island University Brooklyn
  • MacMurray College
  • Mayville State University
  • Olivet Nazarene University
  • Queens College (CUNY)
  • Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
  • Rogers State University
  • Southern Arkansas University
  • St. Edward’s University
  • University of Texas at Brownsville
  • United States Merchant Marine Academy
  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • University of Jamestown
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • William Carey University

It’s important to note that test-required schools may adopt a test-optional or test-blind admissions policy at any given time. Needless to say, it’s of utmost importance to research your top-choice institution’s admissions requirements in advance so that you can prepare so much better for the next admissions cycle.

Standardized test scores are a requirement in some states for students applying to college not only for their applications to be considered but also for them to be considered for scholarships.

In Florida, for instance, the submission of SAT or ACT scores is a must for graduating high schoolers.

According to a statement by a board member that oversees all 12 public institutions of higher education in the Sunshine State, it’s due to the fact that standardized test scores are a requirement to be eligible for the Bright Futures Scholarship program.

Funded by the state, the said scholarship provides financial assistance based on high school academic achievement. It has different award levels, each one having its own award amounts and eligibility criteria.

The Bright Futures Scholarship program is so big that, in 2019, over 110,000 students depended on it.

In order to qualify for what’s considered the most competitive and generous of all Bright Futures Scholarship programs, which is the Florida Academic Scholars (FAS), degree-seeking students must have a minimum SAT score of 1330 or an ACT score of at least 25. They should also have a weighted GPA of at least 3.0.

Conclusion

Taking the SAT or ACT and submitting your scores, too, are a must if you are planning on applying to a test-required school. Providing any scores is unnecessary if you are thinking about attending a test-blind college.

It’s only when applying to an institution with a test-optional policy that you have to carefully decide between showing your SAT or ACT scores and keeping them to yourself. But if the college or university says it does not require test scores but submitting them is recommended, it’s a good idea to hand over yours.

However, if your standardized test scores are low or do not reflect your academic prowess, consider not submitting them. But make sure that other parts of your application, such as your AP scores, class rank, personal statement and extracurriculars, are impressive enough for your dream school.

Appendix A: List of test-optional colleges

  • Abilene Christian University
  • Adelphi College
  • Alabama A&M
  • Alabama State University
  • Albion College
  • Alfred University
  • Alma College
  • Anderson University
  • Arcadia University
  • Arizona State University
  • Auburn University
  • Austin Peay State University
  • Babson University
  • Barnard College
  • Barry University
  • Baylor University
  • Beloit College
  • Berry College
  • Bethany College
  • Binghamton University
  • Bismarck State College
  • Bluefield State College
  • Boston College
  • Boston University
  • Brigham Young University
  • Brown University
  • Bucknell University
  • Butler University
  • Caldwell University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • California Polytechnic State University
  • Canisius College
  • Carleton College
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Carroll University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Central College
  • Central Michigan University
  • Centre College
  • Chapman University
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Clemson University
  • Cleveland State College
  • Colgate University
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Colorado State University
  • Columbia University
  • Concordia University Texas
  • Cooper Union
  • Cornell University
  • Cottey College
  • Covenant College
  • Creighton University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Drexel University
  • Drury University
  • Duke University
  • East Carolina University
  • Elizabethtown College
  • Elon University
  • Emory University
  • Fairmont State University
  • Fordham University
  • Franklin College
  • Gonzaga University           
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Hamilton College
  • Hardin-Simmons University
  • Harvard College
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Haverford College
  • Hawaii Pacific University
  • Holy Cross College
  • Husson University
  • Indiana University – Bloomington
  • Indiana University – East
  • Indiana University – Kokomo
  • Indiana University – Northwest
  • Indiana University – Southeast
  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Iowa Wesleyan University
  • Jackson State University
  • John Carroll University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Kent State University
  • Kenyon College
  • Kutztown University
  • Lamar University
  • Lehigh University
  • Limestone College
  • Lincoln Memorial University
  • List College
  • Lock Haven University
  • Longwood University
  • Lycoming College
  • Maine Maritime Academy
  • Malone University
  • Mansfield University
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  • Marymount Manhattan College
  • Miami University
  • Michigan State University
  • Middlebury College
  • Midway University
  • Millersville University
  • Millikin University
  • Minnesota State University
  • Mississippi College
  • Montana State University
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • New York Institute of Technology
  • New York University
  • Newberry College
  • North Carolina State University
  • Northeastern University
  • Northern Kentucky University
  • Northwestern University
  • Oberlin College
  • Occidental College
  • Ohio State University
  • Ohio University
  • Olin College of Engineering
  • Oregon State University
  • Penn State
  • Plymouth State University
  • Point Loma Nazarene University
  • Pomona College
  • Portland State University
  • Princeton University
  • Purdue University – West Lafayette
  • Purdue University – Northwest
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rhodes College
  • Rutgers University – Camden
  • Rutgers University – New Brunswick
  • Rutgers University – Newark
  • Saint Anselm College
  • Saint Louis University
  • St. Mary’s University
  • St. Norbert College
  • St. Thomas Aquinas College
  • St. Thomas University
  • Saint Vincent College
  • Savannah College of Arts and Design
  • Santa Clara University
  • Scripps College
  • Seattle University
  • Simmons University
  • Soka University of America
  • Southern Methodist University
  • Southern Oregon University
  • Southwest Baptist University
  • Stanford University
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • University at Buffalo (SUNY)
  • Stony Brook University (SUNY)
  • Swarthmore College
  • Syracuse University
  • Tarleton State University
  • Texas A&M University – College Station
  • Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi
  • Texas Christian University
  • Texas State University
  • Thiel College
  • Trinity University
  • Tulane University
  • University of Akron
  • University of Alaska – Fairbanks
  • University of Colorado – Colorado Springs
  • University of the Cumberlands
  • University of Dayton
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Hawaii – Manoa
  • University of Houston – Main Campus
  • University of Houston – Clear Lake
  • University of Houston – Downtown
  • University of Houston – Victoria
  • University of Illinois – Chicago
  • University of the Incarnate Word
  • University of Indianapolis
  • University of Maine
  • University of Massachusetts – Amherst
  • University of Miami
  • University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
  • University of Montana
  • University of Montana Western
  • University of Mount Union
  • University of Nevada – Las Vegas
  • University of Nevada – Reno
  • University of New England
  • University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  • University of North Dakota – Grand Forks
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Pittsburgh – Bradford
  • University of Pittsburgh – Greensburg
  • University of Pittsburgh – Johnstown
  • University of Pittsburgh – Titusville
  • University of Richmond
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Texas at Arlington
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Texas at Dallas
  • University of Texas at Permian Basin
  • University of Texas at San Antonio
  • University of Texas at Tyler
  • University of Tulsa
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Virginia – Wise
  • University of Washington
  • University of Washington Bothell
  • Valparaiso University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Vassar College
  • Villanova University
  • Virginia Tech University
  • Wabash College
  • Washington and Lee University
  • Washington State University Vancouver
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Wayne State University
  • Webb Institute
  • Wellesley College
  • Western Michigan University
  • Westminster College
  • West Virginia State University
  • West Virginia University
  • Williams College
  • Winthrop University
  • Yale University
  • Yeshiva University
  • York College of Pennsylvania

Appendix B: List of test-blind colleges

  • Alaska Pacific University
  • Augsburg University
  • Baruch College
  • Brooklyn College
  • California Institute of Technology
  • California Maritime Academy
  • California State Polytechnic University – Pomona
  • California State Polytechnic University – San Luis Obispo
  • California State University – Bakersfield
  • California State University – Channel Islands
  • California State University – Chico
  • California State University – Dominguez Hills
  • California State University – East Bay
  • California State University – Fresno
  • California State University – Fullerton
  • California State University – Long Beach
  • California State University – Los Angeles
  • California State University – Monterey Bay
  • California State University – Northridge
  • California State University – Sacramento
  • California State University – San Bernardino
  • California State University – San Marcos
  • California State University – Stanislaus
  • Castleton University
  • Catholic University
  • City College of New York
  • College of Staten Island
  • Dickinson College
  • Eastern Washington University
  • Hampshire College
  • Humboldt State University
  • Hunter College
  • Loyola University New Orleans
  • Medgar Evers College
  • NewU University
  • New York City College of Technology
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Northern Michigan University
  • Pitzer College
  • Plymouth State University
  • Queens College
  • Reed College
  • San Diego State University
  • San Francisco State University
  • San Jose State University
  • Saint Mary’s University of San Antonio
  • Shippensburg University
  • Sonoma State University
  • Stonehill College
  • University of California – Berkeley
  • University of California – Davis
  • University of California – Irvine
  • University of California – Los Angeles
  • University of California – Merced
  • University of California – Riverside
  • University of California – San Diego
  • University of California – Santa Barbara
  • University of San Diego
  • Washington State University
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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