Taking standarized tests can be a scary, nerve wracking endeavour. College are starting to understand that some students no matter how much they prepare don’t do well on these tests. And some are starting to question what predicitve value these exams really have.
So you should be aware that some of the best colleges in the United States are test-optional or test-flexible including Brandeis, George Washington, NYU, Bowdoin, Wake Forest, Wesleyan, and Smith. In fact, half of the U.S. News & World Report’s “Top 100” liberal arts colleges are on the list of test-optional schools. So are a majority of all colleges and universities in New England and more than 50% in the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Roughly there are about 1,000 test-optional or test-flexible schools.
The Difference Between Test-Flexible and Test-Optional
Test-optional means that students don’t have to submit their SAT or ACT scores to complete their applications. What counts most is the applicant’s high school academic record. Also of great importance are the applicant’s personal essay, recommendation letters, extracurricular activities, and often, a personal interview.
Test-flexible means that instead of the SAT or ACT, a student must submit scores from other tests, such as the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, or SAT Subject Tests in order for a student’s application to be considered complete.
For the full list of test-optional and test-flexible schools, visit
For the full list of test-optional schools ranked in the top tiers by
U.S. News & World Report, visit http://www.fairtest.org/sites/default/files/Optional-Schools-in-U.S.News-Top-Tiers.pdf