Two-thirds of all U.S. colleges and universities are test-optional or test-blind for fall 2021 applicants

for further information, contact:                      

Bob Schaeffer(239) 395-6773                                         

            mobile  (239) 699-0468

 

for immediate release Thursday, September 10, 2020

TWO-THIRDSOF ALL U.S. FOUR-YEAR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

ARE TEST-OPTIONAL OR TEST-BLIND FOR FALL 2021 APPLICANTS;

NUMBER OF SCHOOLS NOT REQUIRING ACT/SAT TOPS 1,570;

MAJOR HOLDOUTS ARE FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITIES, U.S. SERVICE ACADEMIES

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.

Among the few well-known institutions still requiring ACT or SAT scores are State University System of Florida schools including two public flagships, the University of Florida and Florida State University. U.S. service academies, such as Annapolis, West Point and the Air Force Academy, also retain testing mandates. Schaeffer noted, “At these holdout schools, exam requirements are maintained by politicians, often influenced by pro-testing ideologues. Elsewhere decisions are made by admissions professionals, who rely on data about the tests’ inaccuracy, biases and other flaws.”

This year FairTest has added a directory of “test-blind” schools to its website, reflecting a growing trend. Currently, 59 institutions say they will ignore ACT/SAT scores even if applicants for Fall 2021 seats submit them. The list includes the California Institute of Technology, nine University of California campuses, Catholic University, the 23-campus California State University system, Loyola University New Orleans, Dickinson, Hampshire, and Reed.

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.

- - 3 0 - -