ACT/SAT Test-Optional 101

Test-Optional Colleges & Universities

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1,600 colleges and universities have moved to a test-optional admissions policy for Fall 2021 admissions (and possibly beyond).

A test-optional policy means that SAT or ACT scores are not a required part of the college application, and a student’s application for admission will not be penalized for not taking the ACT or SAT.

Find out if your preferred schools have test-optional policies:


  • College & University COVID-19 Updates. Each of these institutions has created a dedicated webpage for COVID-19 related updates. These links have the most up-to-date details about class and campus operations, housing, and other logistics.

Should You Still Take the ACT or SAT?

Research your preferred schools to see how exactly they are handling test scores. It is important to know how they will weigh this factor in the application process.

Do you have to submit your score if you have taken an exam?  

No, do not. The College Board and the ACT will not release your scores without your consent. However, make sure it is not a required component of the application.  

If I don’t take the SAT or ACT, will it hurt my application?

It should not hurt your application as long as the school does not require test scores/has a test-optional policy.

Why take the SAT or ACT if my school doesn’t require it?

There are benefits to taking these exams even if it is not required in your college application.

  • You can use your SAT or ACT scores as a graduation pathway option.
  • Additionally, many colleges, including test-optional schools, will use SAT or ACT scores to award merit scholarships for incoming students.
  • It is also very common for other scholarship providers to require an SAT or ACT score to be submitted as part of the application process.