Two-Thirds of all U.S. Colleges are now Test Optional

More than two-thirds of 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. will not require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores for fall 2021 admission. The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), which maintains a free, online master list, reports that more than 1,570 schools are now test-optional. The federal government counts 2,330 bachelor-degree granting institutions.

“An overwhelming majority of admissions offices will assess applications from high school seniors without requiring ACT or SAT scores,” explained FairTest interim Executive Director Bob Schaeffer. “It is important for students, their families, and counselors to understand that ‘test-optional means optional.’ In other words, students who do not submit results from standardized exams will neither be advantaged nor disadvantaged. Many of these schools will remain ACT/SAT optional for admissions cycles after fall 2021.”

The test-optional list now includes nearly all of the nation’s most selective universities and liberal arts colleges. More than 800 institutions ranked in the top tiers of their respective categories by U.S. News & World Report do not require ACT or SAT scores.

FairTest has led the test-optional movement since the late 1980s. At that time, all but a handful of schools required the ACT or SAT. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1,070 colleges and universities did not require standardized scores. About 500 additional schools waived test scores in the last six months, many permanently or for multiple years.

FairTest’s frequently updated directory of test-optional, 4-year schools is available online at — sort geographically by clicking on “State”