As a new college admissions cycle gets underway with the launch of the 2024 Common
Application on Tuesday, August 1, a new tally shows that a record 85% of U.S. bachelor’s
degree-granting colleges and universities will not require ACT or SAT scores from recent high
school graduates seeking to enroll in Fall 2024.
According to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), an all-time high of more
than 1,900 U.S. colleges and universities have announced that they will practice ACT/SAT-
optional or test-free admissions for this fall’s high school seniors. Several dozen additional
schools have not yet made public their testing requirements for Fall 2024 admissions, but most
are expected to remain test optional.
FairTest Executive Director Harry Feder explained, “More and more schools are ACT/SAT-
optional or test-free every year because the policies have proven to be so effective. Admissions
offices that stop requiring standardized exam scores usually receive more applicants, better
academically qualified applicants, and more diverse pools of applicants. Most admissions
leaders have seen no persuasive reason to restore testing requirements. The realization that
standardized test scores provide virtually no useful additional information on a college
application has sunk in. That means nearly every senior in the high school class of 2024 can
choose to apply without submitting scores.”
Bob Schaeffer, FairTest’s Public Education Director, added, “After recent Supreme Court
decisions on admissions, eliminating testing requirements is a fair, legally permissible way to
encourage applications from first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented student
groups, for whom standardized exams are often a poor predictor of success.” FairTest filed an
Amicus brief in the Supreme Court cases calling for an end to the use of “race conscious” test
scores in admissions and financial aid decisions.
FairTest has led the U.S. test-optional admissions movement since the late 1980s. At that time,
fewer than three dozen colleges and universities did not mandate ACT or SAT score submission
from applicants. Immediately before the COVID-19 pandemic, 1,070 schools were test-optional
FairTest’s frequently updated list of schools not requiring applicants to submit ACT/SAT scores
is available free online at: https://fairtest.org/test-optional-list/.