Test-blind Colleges

July 24, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Test-blind Colleges

A school that declares itself to be “test-blind” typically means that it will not consider applicants’ test scores at any point during the admissions process. Read on to learn more about test-blind colleges.

This means that even if you take the SAT or ACT and have your score reports sent to a school that is test-blind, the admissions office will not see your score nor take it into consideration when making their decision about whether or not to let you into the school.

That’s right: under a test-blind policy, the admissions committee won’t even be able to see your SAT or ACT scores, and as a consequence, they won’t have any bearing on whether or not you’ll be accepted.

Students huddled in a table and reading.

Test-blind admissions are not the same as test-optional policies, which you may be more familiar with. However, test-optional policies are not the same thing. Schools that do not consider test scores to be part of the admissions decision believe that other aspects of your application provide superior information about you as an applicant.

Because of this, you won’t have the option to send in your SAT or ACT scores to test-blind colleges, and those scores won’t play any role in determining whether or not you will be admitted.

At this point, test-optional policies are significantly more prevalent than test-blind policies. However, you should be aware of the distinction between test-optional and test-blind colleges because the former will let you send in your test scores while the latter will not.

Test-Blind Vs. Test-Optional

Throughout the pandemic, there has been a continuing shift in standardized testing. Many students have been unable to get a testing date because there have been numerous cancellations during the spring and summer, and fall testing has been limited because of social distancing guidelines.

In response to this, a growing number of educational institutions, including prestigious institutions like those in the Ivy League, are adopting admissions policies that do not require applicants to take standardized tests.

It is essential to have a clear understanding of what exactly a test-optional school is and how it differs from test-blind colleges to remove any possibility of ambiguity during the admissions process.

What is meant by test-blind vs. test-optional? Schools that are test-optional give applicants the option of submitting their SAT or ACT scores as part of their application, rather than requiring them to do so.

Having said that, the test scores, if submitted, will still be taken into consideration by these colleges. If it comes down to two students who have comparable profiles but one of them has a high test score and the other one does not, the student who has the test score will almost certainly be selected over the student who does not have it.

In contrast to schools that give students the option of not taking standardized tests, “test-blind” schools do not place any importance on the results of those examinations.

Even if you received a score of 1600 on the SAT or 36 on the ACT, it won’t be taken into consideration if you submit your score. There are hardly any educational institutions that adhere to a test-blind policy. The most prestigious test-blind institution is Caltech, which has implemented this policy for prospective students applying in the Fall of 2020 and Fall of 2021.

Are Any of the Ivy League Schools Test-Blind?

You are interested in attending an Ivy League school, now the question is, are any of the Ivy League schools test-blind? Since all of the Ivy League colleges—Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Brown, Columbia, Barnard, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, and Cornell—extended their test-optional policies to include Fall 2022 admissions, current high school students can apply to any of these schools without having to take standardized tests.

Group of students talking in a bench while holding their notes.

Juniors applying to colleges for the Class of 2022 won’t have to include their SAT or ACT scores with their applications.

In light of the recent shift toward test-optional policies, applicants invariably inquire as to whether or not they are required to send in their SAT or ACT scores. The answer to this question is difficult to provide because there is not one single reason that someone would want to submit their SAT or ACT scores.

  • Is the applicant trying to gain a supposed competitive advantage over other applicants who might not submit their scores?
  • Are students using their test scores as a means to justify where they stand in the academic meritocracy?
  • Does the candidate wish to present evidence of their intellectual capacity in a format that is different from their transcripts?
  • Did the applicant come up with a plan to ensure that their SAT or ACT score would compensate for their lack of participation in extracurricular activities?

To begin, it is important to evaluate the reasons why a student might want to submit SAT or ACT score. These reasons could include one or more of the ones listed above.

The next step is to formulate an analytical framework that will allow for an effective decision regarding whether or not to take the SAT or ACT this spring. This framework should take into consideration the costs associated with both preparing for and taking the SAT or ACT, as well as the likelihood of scoring well enough to strengthen one’s overall application for admission.

What Colleges Are Test-Blind For 2023?

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend toward test-optional admissions processes in colleges and universities.

For the admissions cycle of 2021-22, 75 percent of four-year colleges will no longer require students to submit their SAT or ACT scores. More than 1,800 colleges and universities in the United States will continue to accept applications without requiring students to take standardized tests through the 2021-22 application cycle. Some of these schools will make the transition to test-optional admissions even longer or permanent.

Students listening intently in class.

The first two Ivy League schools to announce that they will continue to use test-optional policies for the 2021-22 admissions cycle were Cornell University and Columbia University. Both universities are located in the state of Columbia.

Now let’s tackle what colleges are test-blind for 2023. You may check the list of test-blind colleges and test-optional schools below:

Test-Blind Schools

Even if you send your SAT or ACT scores, these schools will not consider them in any admissions decisions because they are test-blind.

These universities are:

California Institute of Technology

California State University – All Campuses (SAT or ACT scores may still be submitted for course placement)

Loyola University New Orleans

Pitzer College

University of California – All Campuses

University of San Diego

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Test-Optional Schools for 2022-2023

Test-optional denotes the fact that these schools currently accept applications with or without test results. However, keep in mind that some colleges have shown noticeably higher acceptance rates for applicants who submit test scores compared to applicants who do not. Please see the list below:

Amherst College Pepperdine University
Barnard College Pennsylvania State University
Baylor University Pomona College
Belmont University Princeton University
Boston College Quinnipiac University (Except for certain dual degree programs and the School of Nursing)
Boston University Reed College
Brown University Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Bucknell University Rice University
Carleton College Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Carnegie Mellon University Santa Clara University
Case Western Reserve University Skidmore College
Claremont McKenna College Southern Methodist University
Clemson University Stanford University
Colgate University Stevens Institute of Technology
Columbia University SUNY – All Campuses
College of William and Mary Swarthmore College
Cornell University Syracuse University
Dartmouth College Texas A&M University
Dickinson College Texas Christian University
Drexel University Tufts University
Duke University Tulane University
Elon University University of Connecticut
Emory University University of Illinois Chicago
Fordham University University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Grinnell College University of Maryland – College Park
Hamilton College University of Massachusetts – Amherst
Harvard University University of Miami
Harvey Mudd College University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Haverford College University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Indiana University Bloomington University of Notre Dame
Iowa State University University of Pennsylvania
Johns Hopkins University University of South Carolina
Kenyon College University of Southern California
Lafayette College University of Texas at Austin
Lehigh University University of Vermont
Loyola Marymount University University of Virginia
Middlebury College University of Wisconsin – Madison
New York University Vanderbilt University
North Carolina State University Villanova University
Northeastern University Washington and Lee University
Northwestern University Washington University in St. Louis
Oberlin College and Conservatory Wellesley College
Occidental College Yale University
Ohio State University

Permanently Test-Optional

These schools have long-standing test-optional regulations that were frequently adopted before the COVID-19 pandemic. For more than 50 years, Bowdoin College, as an illustration, has prohibited testing.

Test-optional applicants are frequently accepted by these colleges, which include:

American University Scripps College
Bard College Smith College (Does not include
Bates College international applicants)
Bowdoin College Temple University
Brandeis University The New School
Bryn Mawr College Trinity College
Chapman University Union College
Colby College University of Arizona
College of the Holy Cross University of Chicago
Colorado College University of Colorado Boulder
Colorado School of Mines University of Delaware
Colorado State University University of Denver
Connecticut College University of Oregon
Davidson College University of Richmond
DePaul University University of Rochester
Franklin & Marshall College University of San Francisco
George Washington University University of Washington (may be given consideration if
Hofstra University they have high test scores (1400 SAT/31 ACT or above)
Macalester College Vassar College
Michigan State University Wake Forest University
Mount Holyoke College Washington State University
Oregon State University Wesleyan University
Rochester Institute of Technology Whitman College
Rutgers University – Newark Williams College
Sarah Lawrence College Yeshiva University

How Will Test-Blind Affect Admissions?

You may feel like this is one problem ticked off from your list in terms of college applications. But how will test-blind affect admissions? Let us weigh the pros and cons of attending one of the test-blind colleges.

Pro: Test results are not required.

The fact that you are not required to submit your test scores is, in the eyes of many prospective students, the most obvious benefit of applying to schools that are test-blind.

It’s common knowledge that getting ready for and performing well on the SAT and ACT requires a significant investment of time, energy, and resources.

When applying to colleges that do not require applicants to submit test scores, you are free to focus your efforts on other aspects of your application that you find to be less stressful. Students who struggle to achieve test scores that are satisfactory or who experience test-taking anxiety would benefit greatly from policies that administer tests without revealing the results. If this sounds like you, it might be beneficial to apply to one or two schools that don’t use standardized tests.

Pro: You’ll have more time to concentrate on other aspects of your application.

You will have the opportunity to really focus on improving other aspects of your application to test-blind schools because you won’t be under the additional stress of the SAT or ACT.

You should direct your efforts toward developing your spike strategy, cultivating strong relationships with the people who will be recommending you, and writing outstanding application essays. Additionally, the elimination of requirements for minimum test scores may give some applicants the impression that the admissions process is more open and welcoming.

Using a laptop in a table.

On your applications to schools that use the test-blind admissions process, you might get the impression that you are presenting yourself as a whole person rather than having all of your potential reduced to a collection of statistics and scores.

If you believe that you will have a better chance of standing out through test-blind admissions, then you should think about applying to a school that uses this admissions method!

Even though test-blind schools may seem like a good idea on paper, this does not necessarily mean that they are the best option for you. Continue reading to find out more about the three drawbacks of applying to colleges that do not use standardized tests.

Con: Your grades cannot be considered in any way.

On the other hand, if you have exceptional performance on standardized tests, you won’t have the opportunity to use those scores to your advantage under test-blind admissions policies. Your SAT score of 1540 may make your application stand out more at schools that require test scores, but at schools that are test-blind, you won’t be able to rely on that score to help you stand out from the crowd of other applicants.

Test-blind schools aren’t the best option for you if you believe that your grades on the SAT or ACT will have an impact on whether or not you are admitted to the school.

Con: You still need to work on other aspects of your application to improve your chances.

The fact that applicants are not required to submit test scores in order to be considered for admission can feel overwhelming to some of them. If you are unable to provide test scores to help tell the story of your academic potential, you will need to put everything you have into perfecting the other aspects of your application in order to stand out from the competition.

Young man wearing glasses and typing in a table.

It is always important to do the best work you can on your essays, resume, and letters of recommendation; however, it is possible that these aspects of your application will feel more complicated than a test score. The criteria for what constitutes an amazing test score can be easily quantified, in contrast to the more subjective nature of things like essays and letters of recommendation.

If you are an excellent test-taker and plan to differentiate yourself from other applicants based on your test scores, then applying to a school that does not consider test scores may not be the best choice for you.

Con: Test-blind policies are frequently temporary.

Unfortunately, the majority of the schools on our list of colleges that have abandoned standardized testing have only done so on a temporary basis.

At this point in time, we simply aren’t in a position to know for certain whether or not additional schools will decide to implement permanent test-blind policies. Because of this, putting all of your eggs in one basket by applying to colleges that don’t consider test scores isn’t necessarily the safest strategy when it comes to the college admissions process.

In point of fact, a good number of the educational institutions on our list have disclosed that they intend to do away with their test-blind admissions policies as early as the year 2022.

The Bottomline

Even though you have the opportunity to submit your application to test-blind colleges, you should still consider taking the SAT or ACT so that you can maintain as many options as possible. You won’t be in a bind when it comes time to start submitting college applications if you do this, and you’ll have the option to apply to schools that require standardized tests as well as schools that don’t, if that’s what you want to do!

There is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the use of standardized testing in the process of applying to colleges for students graduating from high school in the year 2022. Even though this uncertainty adds another layer of stress to the application process, it is essential to exert as much control as possible over the aspects of the process that can actually be managed.

As you search for schools that you are interested in attending, there are three primary aspects concerning examinations that you should investigate:

  • The testing policy of the school and any required examinations (if any).
  • The average standardized test scores of students who were accepted into the college (this information can be found by scrolling all the way to the bottom of the “Admissions” tab on the college profile).
  • How schools make use of multiple scores, as well as whether or not they superscore the SAT, ACT, or both.

As soon as you have this information, devise a strategy for the examination, and get ready to take it if you still have the opportunity.

When it comes time to take the test itself, you should do the very best that you are capable of, but you shouldn’t get too hung up on the idea of getting the highest possible score. This does not mean that your SAT and ACT scores do not matter or that they will have no bearing on the decision regarding your application.

There is still a focus on students’ test scores at the most prestigious and selective schools. However, a single test score is not an adequate indicator of your overall value or of how successful you will be in life.

Move on to the other essential components of your application once you have finished the test (or tests) that are required of you. If there is one thing that the recent push toward test-optional, test-blind, and text-flexible policies has taught us, it is that colleges are re-evaluating the usefulness of the ACT and SAT, and for the time being, it is best not to worry too much about the results of these evaluations.

In either case, picking a college from a list of test-blind colleges or schools that take your scores into account is confusing. AdmissionSight is available to assist you in making the best decision for you.

At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process to get accepted to the top universities in the world. On average, 75% of our students are admitted to an Ivy League university, Stanford, MIT, UChicago, and Caltech, one of the highest track records in the industry. Feel free to set up an appointment today to book your initial consultation.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.