Many Test-Optional Colleges Earn Top Rankings

University Testing

FairTest Examiner, September 2011

Love them or hate them, the annual U.S. News & World Report higher education rankings serve as a popular directory to the country’s most selective colleges and universities. The magazine’s 2012 “Best Colleges” edition rates more than 120 undergraduate institutions with test-optional admissions policies as among the best in their respective categories. The list (available on request) includes 54 of the magazine’s top-tier national liberal arts colleges and 35 of its top 100.
Wake Forest University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, American University and recent addition DePaul University ( are among the highly ranked national universities, which do not require all or many applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores before making admissions decisions. At the top of the U.S. News liberal arts college category are such test-optional schools as Bowdoin, Smith, Bates, Holy Cross, Mount Holyoke, Sewanee, Union, Furman and Pitzer. Among regional universities that do not require standardized exam scores, Fairfield, Loyola, Providence, Rollins, Stetson, Baldwin-Wallace, and Whitworth are all ranked in the top dozen from their sections of the country.

Since 2005, nearly 80 colleges and universities have adopted “test-optional” policies, according to FairTest (chronology available on request). This summer alone, Bryant University along with Anna Maria, Earlham, and Nichols colleges joined the list. A regularly updated directory of more than 860 accredited, bachelor-degree granting institutions that do not require all or many applicants to submit test scores is available for free at