Low SAT or ACT Scores? Check Out These Test-Optional Colleges

Low Test Scores Don't Need to Ruin Your College Dreams

Testing sheet
SAT test. JC559 / Getty Images

If you got low SAT scores or low ACT scores, or if you simply didn't take the exam in time for application deadlines, realize that hundreds of test-optional colleges do not require entrance exams as part of their admissions applications.

The list below is just a sampling of the roughly 850 four-year colleges that do not require the SAT or ACT. I have, however, included most of the highly selective schools that don't require scores. To see a complete list, visit the FairTest website. Also be sure to check out my list of 20 Great Colleges for Students with Low SAT Scores.

Colleges don't use test scores for many reasons. Some technical schools, music schools and art schools don't see the ACT and SAT as good measures of the types of skills they require. Other schools recognize that the SAT and ACT limit their applicant pools and give an unfair advantage to students from schools or families that can afford test prep courses. You will also find on the FairTest list that many schools with strong religious affiliations do not require standardized tests.

Admissions policies change frequently, so check with each school for the latest testing guidelines. Also, realize that some of the schools below are test-optional only for students who meet certain GPA or class rank requirements.

Schools that don't require the ACT or SAT for some or all applicants

When applying to schools, be sure to read their policies carefully. Some state schools on the list do require scores from out-of-state applicants. Other schools don't require scores for admissions, but they do use the scores for awarding academic scholarships.