Top 10 SAT-Optional Schools (plus 2)

Stemming from our recent discussion of students with low SATs, we decided to profile the top 10 SAT/ACT-Optional Schools. The SAT-optional movement provides a great opportunity for impressive students whose SAT scores do not correlate with their successes.  The nonprofit FairTest provides a comprehensive list of all schools that are either SAT-optional or flexible with which tests they accept.

Note that these schools are truly SAT optional in that you do need to submit standardized tests as part of your applications.  Other schools such as Middlebury College and New York University do offer other options, but are not testing optional.

These schools are what we considered the “top ten” (plus 2 honorable mentions) in alphabetical order:

Bates College

Bates College

Located in Lewiston, Maine

1,738 students

The Bates College mascot is the Bobcat.

Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College

Located in Brunswick, Maine

1,771 students

The Bowdoin College mascot is the Polar Bear

Bryn Mawr College

SAT-Optional Schools

Located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

1,283 Students

The Bryn Mawr Mascot is the Owl.


Colby College

SAT-Optional Schools

Located in Waterville, Maine

1, 838 Students

The Colby College mascot is the White Mule.

College of the Holy Cross

SAT-Optional Schools

Located in Worcester, Massachusetts

2,897 Students

The Holy Cross mascot is the Crusasder.


Mount Holyoke College

SAT-Optional Schools

Located in South Hadley, Massachusetts

2,224 Students

The Mount Holyoke mascot is the Lyon.

Reed College

SAT-Optional Schools

Located in Portland, Oregon

1,406 Students

The Reed College mascot is the Griffin.

Sewanee –University of the South

SAT-Optional Schools

Located in Sewanee, Tennessee

1,455 Students

The Sewanee mascot is the Tiger.

Smith College

Smith College Located in Northampton, Massachusetts

2,593 students

The Smith College mascot is the Pioneer.

Wake Forest University

Wake Forest UniversityLocated in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

4,514 students

The Wake Forest University mascot is the Demon Deacon



Honorable Mention: Sarah Lawrence College (NY), Union College (NY)

Note that there are some interesting things from this list. There is only one major research university on the list–Wake Forest University. The rest of the schools on this list are liberal arts colleges.  Additionally, three of these schools are women’s colleges (Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Bryn Mawr).

If you were worried about your test scores, you should not be.  As long as you work hard and demonstrate passion there are still options for you!

Colby College and Mount Holyoke College photos by Ed Yourdon; Sewanee photo by spakattacks
This entry was posted in Search and Selection, Standardized Tests, Uncategorized, Written by Will and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Top 10 SAT-Optional Schools (plus 2)

  1. Pingback: The case for liberal arts schools | Admissions360

  2. Pingback: Using Admissions360 | Admissions360

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s