The most selective test-optional schools

June 21, 2011

Here, on the heels of yesterday’s posting about Salisbury University going test-optional, is a list of the most prestigious colleges that have adopted test-optional admissions.

Several hundred colleges have dropped the requirement that every applicant submit SAT or ACT scores, part of a gradual priority shift in college admissions away from standardized tests in favor of old-fashioned grades and a more holistic approach.

There are enduring questions about the validity of the SAT and ACT in predicting college success. The latest study asserts that only two of four ACT sections correlate with collegiate prosperity.

“It’s also worth noting that FairTest’s online database of test-optional institutions now hosts more than 200,000 unique visitors each year,” said Bob Schaeffer, spokesman for the National Center for Fair & Open Testing.

Here, as compiled by FairTest, is the list of top colleges that allow some or all applicants to go test-optional. It’s based on U.S. News & World Report rank.

Top “test-optional” liberal arts colleges

(Test-flexible policies typically require test scores but give students several options, sometimes including AP or SAT subject tests.)

6. Bowdoin College (ME)

14. Smith College (MA)

18. Hamilton College (NY) “Test Flexible”

21. Bates College (ME)

23. Colby College (ME) “Test Flexible”

26. Colorado College (CO) “Test Flexible”

26. Mount Holyoke College (MA)

30. Bryn Mawr (PA) “Test Flexible”

32. College of the Holy Cross (MA)

32. Sewanee—The University of the South (TN)

38. Bard College (NY)

41. Connecticut College (CT)

41. Franklin and Marshall College (PA)

41. Union College (NY)

41. Furman University (SC)

46. Pitzer College (CA)

47. Dickinson College (PA)

47. Gettysburg College (PA)

51. Denison University (OH)

55. St. Lawrence University (NY)

59. Wheaton College (MA)

67. Agnes Scott College (GA)

67. Hobart and William Smith Colleges (NY)

67. Lawrence University (WI)

71. Ursinus College (PA)

75. Knox College (IL)

75. Lewis and Clark (OR)

75. Muhlenberg College (PA)

79. Drew University (NJ)

79. Gustavus Adolphus (MN)

81. Juniata College (PA)

88. Augustana College (IL)

93. St. Michael’s College (VT)

93. Washington College (MD)

Top “test-optional” national universities

25. Wake Forest University (NC)

64. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA)

79. American University (DC)

120. University of Arizona (AZ)

132. Kansas State University (KS)

136. DePaul University (IL)

139. New School (NY)

143. George Mason University (VA)

143. University of Mississippi (MS)

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