List of Colleges Dropping ACT/SAT Requirements in 2024

February 13, 2024
6 min read

Keep reading for a list of colleges dropping ACT/SAT requirements in 2024. It's a sign of the times, recognizing that there's more to a student than just standardized test scores.

In recent years, there have been some significant changes happening in the world of college admissions. Many colleges are taking a closer look at their standardized testing requirements, aiming to make the application process fairer and more well-rounded. 

Quite a few colleges have decided to remove the ACT and SAT requirements altogether. This means they're putting more emphasis on your grades, activities, and who you are as a person rather than just your test scores. Let's take a look at some of these colleges that are going test-optional. 

Leading Colleges Embracing Test-Optional Admissions

In this section, we'll shine a light on some top colleges that are all about test-optional admissions. 

Princeton University

Princeton University's Office of Undergraduate Admission acknowledges the pandemic's impact on secondary education. They've decided to extend the test-optional policy for the next three admission cycles, spanning applications until 2025. 

So, if you're applying during this time, not submitting ACT/SAT scores won't be a problem. Princeton takes a holistic approach, and there's no minimum score requirement.

There's no need to worry about SAT Subject Tests; they've been dropped for domestic applicants since January 2021 and June 2021 for international students. If you do choose to submit scores, they're okay with that. 

If you've taken AP or IB tests, go ahead and self-report those scores. And if English isn't your native language and your school doesn't teach in English, you'll need TOEFL, IELTS Academic, or PTE Academic scores. They don't accept the Duolingo English Test.

Harvard University

Harvard University, for the classes of 2027-2030, offers applicants the choice to apply without standardized test scores. Prospective students are encouraged to refer to the announcement for comprehensive details on the application changes for these upcoming admission cycles.

For those who decide to submit standardized test scores, Harvard accepts both the SAT and ACT, including options with or without the writing component. Subject Tests, while no longer obligatory, can still be submitted if taken within the last 5 years. 

It's worth noting that submitting a single mathematics Subject Test is more beneficial than two. Similarly, if English isn't the applicant's first language, a Subject Test in their native language may hold less weight in the application evaluation.

Yale University

Yale University is continuing its test-optional policy for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle. If you're applying for admission in the fall of 2024, you can choose whether or not to submit ACT or SAT scores. Yale will make a decision about long-term testing policies in 2024 based on recent admissions data.

If you have ACT or SAT scores, it's a good idea to consider including them, even if they're not super high. Yale has found that these scores can help predict how well students will do in college.

Without scores, they'll focus more on your high school grades, recommendations, and essays. They're looking for candidates who are well-prepared academically, consistently successful, and genuinely curious, whether or not they have test scores.

The University of Chicago

UChicago's test-optional policy is inclusive, accommodating both students opting not to share scores and those unable to sit for scheduled tests. This policy extends to all applicant categories, including domestic, international, and transfer students. 

While UChicago appreciates and considers SAT or ACT scores from applicants who've taken these exams, the university recognizes that these scores may not fully reflect academic readiness or potential for some students.

In such cases, students can opt for UChicago's test-optional application method, omitting SAT or ACT scores. UChicago also encourages all students, regardless of testing choice, to submit supplementary materials (outlined in the Supplements section) that highlight their skills, talents, and potential contributions to the university.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University has embraced a test-optional policy for the 2025-2026 application year. If you're applying for the classes entering in 2024, 2025, or 2026, rest assured that test scores are not required for admission. Your application will be evaluated based on your academic character, impact, initiative, and how well you’ll fit into their community.

However, if you have test scores such as SAT, ACT, AP, IB, or English language proficiency exams and believe they demonstrate your academic abilities, feel free to share them. 

You can self-report scores through the Common Application and Coalition on Scoir. Remember, you'll need to send official score reports if admitted directly from the testing agency or through a school official.

University of Pennsylvania

Penn University is sticking to its test-optional policy for the 2023-24 application cycle. This means that whether you're a first-year student, domestic, international, homeschooled, transfer, or QuestBridge applicant, you don't have to submit SAT or ACT scores. Rest assured, not sending these scores won't harm your chances.

However, if you've taken the SAT or ACT and want to share your scores, you can do so when you apply. It's your choice. They're also following Ivy League rules when it comes to testing for varsity athletes.

Duke University

Duke University has a test-optional policy for first-year and transfer applicants. This means they'll consider your application equally whether you send SAT or ACT scores or not. You can still share your scores from tests like the SAT, ACT, English proficiency tests, AP tests, IB exams, and A-levels if you want. 

They accept self-reported scores for evaluating your application. But if you get accepted and choose to enroll at Duke, you'll need to send the official scores directly from the testing agencies. This way, Duke aims to make the admission process fair and accessible.

Northwestern University

Northwestern University has gone test-optional for first-year applicants in the 2023-24 cycle. Alternatively, applicants can self-report their scores, making sure to mention their highest individual SAT sections or the top ACT composite score. There's no need to report scores from all test dates, but you can if you want to. 

For those who get admitted and decide to enroll, including test scores in their evaluation, they'll need to submit official SAT or ACT scores matching the highest self-reported ones before they start their studies. It gives students flexibility while ensuring accurate reporting when they become part of the Northwestern community.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College is keeping its test-optional policy for the 2023-2024 application cycle. They want students to know that whether you submit a test score or not is entirely your choice, and it won't hurt your chances. 

Dartmouth looks at your whole application, including test scores, in the context of your opportunities and efforts. While tests are considered, they aren't the only thing. 

If you've taken the ACT or SAT, they suggest sending your scores, no matter how they compare to others. There's no preference between the SAT or ACT, and Dartmouth won't share testing profiles during this test-optional time.

Brown University

For the fourth year running, Brown University will keep its test-optional admissions policy for students applying to the class of 2028. 

This decision is due to the uncertainties in the admissions process caused by various factors, including economic issues and the introduction of digital SAT testing. Brown University hopes that extending the test-optional policy for at least one more year will provide clarity for both students and the university in this uncertain environment.

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University's Office of Undergraduate Admissions is keeping things flexible. They've decided to continue their test-optional policy for an additional three years, which includes students aiming to start in fall 2025, 2026, and 2027. 

The good news is that for these admission cycles, Vanderbilt won't be asking for ACT or SAT scores. Whether you're a first-year or transfer student, you won't need those scores to apply. It's all about providing students with more options and a holistic approach to admissions.

Rice University

Rice University is offering undergraduate applicants a choice regarding SAT or ACT test scores. You can submit them if you want, but it's not mandatory. They promise to consider your application fully, even without test scores.

While these tests were once important, Rice now looks at the bigger picture. They assess applicants based on all the information provided, not just test scores.

If you have other exams that you think will show your strengths, feel free to send them in, but it's entirely up to you. Rice wants to make sure you have the chance to show your best side in the application process.

Cornell University

Since April 2020, Cornell University doesn't require SAT or ACT scores for first-year applicants. Three of Cornell's colleges don't use test scores at all. For the other five, students can choose to submit SAT/ACT scores but aren't required to.

Due to COVID-19 risks, this test-optional policy now applies to those graduating in 2023 and 2024. Cornell is reviewing its testing policies for the future with other universities.

The Ivy League has suspended testing requirements for recruited student-athletes for fall 2023, and future rules are undecided. Cornell follows Ivy League guidelines for sports applicants.

Columbia University

Columbia University allows applicants to Columbia College and Columbia Engineering to choose whether they want to submit standardized test scores or not. They believe in looking at applicants as whole individuals, not just their test scores. 

Their application review process focuses first on academic performance, and if that's strong, they consider other achievements and potential. They did a study and found that not requiring test scores didn't harm the academic success of their students. 

So, they're keeping the option open for applicants to decide if they want to include test scores as part of their application, giving them more flexibility to showcase their abilities and goals.

The University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame is giving applicants a choice for the 2024 and 2025 application cycles.

You can decide whether to send in your ACT or SAT scores. If you want your scores to be evaluated, you should self-report them during the application process. 

But after you've been admitted and confirmed that you're going to Notre Dame, you must send in your official scores from SAT and/or ACT before starting your studies there. 

As for AP and IB tests, they're not mandatory. They'll only be taken into account if they make your application stronger or if they can give you college credit or help you get placed in the first-year program. If you want to know when to register for these tests, you can check the College Board and ACT websites.


Other Colleges That Don’t Require SAT or ACT Scores

In this section, we'll take a look at colleges that don't require SAT or ACT scores.

  • Amherst College
  • Babson College
  • Barnard College
  • Baylor University
  • Boston College
  • Boston University
  • Brown University
  • Bucknell University
  • California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech)
  • Case Western Reserve
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Colgate University
  • College of Charleston
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Drexel University
  • Emory University
  • Fordham University
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Lafayette College
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • New York University
  • Northeastern University
  • Northwestern University
  • Oberlin College
  • Ohio State University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Pomona College
  • Reed College
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Stanford University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Syracuse University
  • Texas Christian University
  • Tufts University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Georgia system
  • University of Maryland–College Park
  • University of Miami
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina system
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Richmond
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Wisconsin System
  • Villanova University
  • Washington University in St Louis
  • Wellesley College
  • Williams College
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Keep in mind that this list of colleges dropping ACT/SAT requirements isn’t exhaustive. These are just some of the colleges that don't require the ACT and SAT, providing you with a starting point to explore your options further.

male student sitting outdoors with laptop and orange juice

Understanding the Concept of Test-Free Colleges

Colleges go test-free primarily to promote fairness and access in admissions, reducing disparities caused by standardized tests. They seek a more diverse student body, adopt holistic admissions, and align policies with research showing limited test score predictability for college success. 

Test-free policies also ease application stress, manage admission rates, and align with a college's values. Recent changes during the pandemic also contributed to some colleges adopting temporary test-optional policies. Overall, these shifts reflect a broader move toward inclusive, holistic admission practices.

Exploring the Pros and Cons of Submitting Test Scores to Colleges

When you're applying to college, the question of whether to send your test scores, like the SAT or ACT, is crucial. Let's break down the advantages and disadvantages to help you make an informed decision.


  • Demonstrates Academic Skills: Sending strong test scores can highlight your academic readiness for college.
  • Scholarship Opportunities: Some colleges offer scholarships based on test scores, which can ease your financial burden.
  • Fair Comparison: Test scores provide colleges with a standardized way to compare students from different backgrounds.
  • Application Boost: If your test scores align with your academic record, they can strengthen your application.


  • Stress and Pressure: Preparing for and taking standardized tests can be stressful and time-consuming, affecting your well-being.
  • Limited Predictive Value: Research suggests that test scores don't always predict college success, and some argue they can be biased.
  • Resource Disparities: Access to test prep resources can create inequalities among students.
  • Holistic Admissions: Many colleges take a holistic approach, considering various factors beyond test scores.
  • Test-Optional Trend: With more test-optional colleges, not submitting scores might not hurt your chances.

So, consider your strengths, the colleges you're applying to, and their admission policies. Ultimately, make the choice that best represents your abilities and aligns with your college goals.

smiling young woman wearing headphones


Here are some answers to the questions you might have about colleges dropping ACT/SAT requirements, test-optional admissions, and what's happening in the world of college admissions in 2024.

1. Which University in Canada Does Not Require SAT?

In Canada, some universities don't ask for SAT scores when you apply. A few of these universities are Trent University (but some countries are exempted from this rule), Royal Roads University, and Capilano University. 

These schools look at many things when deciding if you can get in, not just your test scores. So, if you don't have SAT scores or don't want to send them, these universities are an option for you.

2. Can I Study in the USA Without the SAT?

Yes, it is possible to study in the USA without taking the SAT exam. Many community colleges, and some universities, have more relaxed admission requirements and do not mandate SAT scores as a part of their application process. This can be appealing to international students who want to study in the USA without the added pressure of taking the SAT exam.

3. Can You Get Into Harvard Without SAT?

Yes, you can apply to Harvard University without submitting SAT scores. Harvard allows applicants to choose whether or not their application will include standardized test scores (SAT and ACT). 

If you decide not to include your scores in your application, Harvard will not consider them during the admission review process. Harvard's test-optional policy offers flexibility for applicants.

Final Thoughts

From looking at this list of colleges dropping ACT/SAT requirements, it's clear that 2024 is seeing a significant shift in college admissions. Many top-tier colleges are embracing test-optional policies, recognizing that there's more to a student than just their test scores. 

This gives applicants the freedom to decide whether to include their SAT or ACT scores in their applications. Keep in mind that this list is just the tip of the iceberg, as more colleges are joining this trend to create a fairer and more holistic admission process.

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