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Whether you are going to take the December 5 SAT or not, if like thousands of other high schoolers, US is your top choice for earning your bachelor’s degree, you should know about colleges that embrace policies like test-optional or test blind. This helps avoid any confusion in the admissions process.

What is the SAT?

It is well known that most of the colleges in the United States require SAT scores to allow admission in their undergraduate programs. Apart from this, many institutions provide SAT scholarships as well based on your SAT score.

Types of SAT

SAT: SAT is a general test that evaluates verbal, written, and mathematical skills of students who seek admission to undergraduate schools.

SAT Subject: If you’re looking to get admission in a particular program, you’ve to appear for a subject-focused test. The test demonstrates your strength in a specific subject like Physics, Chemistry, World Literature, Calculus, etc.

Once you’ve appeared for the test and have your SAT scores, you start applying to various schools. It’s then that you come across the test-optional and test-blind schools. Let’s look at how they differ.


If you’re applying at a test-optional school, you can choose whether or not to submit your SAT score as part of the application. If presented, schools still consider the test score. If two students compete with similar profiles, the one with a test score will be given preference over the one without. So, such schools still welcome test scores and consider them valuable data points as part of the review process. And they are confident of the fact that students without a score won’t be disadvantaged.

Schools with a test-optional policy give more weightage to student’s high-school academic records. The next essential assessment criteria are the applicant’s extracurricular activities, recommendation letters, personal essays, and personal interviews.

If you want the college you’re applying to assess your application based on high-school performance, other accomplishments and not just a mere test, go for an optional test school. In short, test-optional schools are great for strong candidates who are not so good test-takers.

Some test-optional schools often demand SAT scores for international students, out-of-state students, or candidates applying for specific scholarships.

Few of the top test-optional universities are:

  • Princeton University
  • Harvard University
  • Columbia University
  • MIT
  • Yale University
  • Stanford University
  • UChicago
  • UPenn

Test Blind

Test blind schools, on the other side, are not at all interested in your SAT scores. They won’t even consider the score even if you submit the same in the application. So, even if you’ve got the perfect SAT score i.e. 1600, you’d have to keep it to yourself.

However, few colleges go for some variations in their admission policy. While some colleges exempt you from submitting your score if you’ve scored above a particular grade, others leave it entirely up to you whether you want to submit the scores or not.

Schools with test blind policies were rare. Earlier, the US News and World Report didn’t entertain test blind schools in their ranking system, but from now on, they are planning to include test blind schools in their process as well. So, more and more schools are beginning to explore the test blind policies, as they no longer fear getting disqualified by the US News and World Report ranking system.

The University of California is planning to transition away from the SAT. They are going test blind for fall admission in 2023 and 2024.

Few of the top test blind colleges are:

  • Cal State Fullerton, Fullerton, CA
  • Cal Maritime, Vallejo, CA
  • California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
  • Cal State East Bay, Hayward, CA
  • Cal State, Los Angeles, CA
  • Cal State, Long Beach
  • Should You Still Appear for the SAT Test?

    If you’re not entirely applying to test blind schools, you should definitely take the standardized test. A strong SAT score will differentiate you from competing students and help leverage your application to a test-optional college. And, even if you don’t score well enough, test-optional schools are always an option. So, you lose nothing.

    Try this tip if you’ve already taken the test and are unsure whether to submit your score or not. If your score falls within 60 points of the 25th percentile result for accepted candidates, submit your score.

    Let’s say you got a score of 1270 and the school you’re applying to is taking a middle 50% SAT range of 1330-1500, go for it and submit your score.

    Subject Test Blind

    Although the weightage of Subject tests has gone down in recent years, it may give you a small boost if you’ve schools on your list that consider them. Less than 2% of US schools give importance to Subject tests.

    Some schools like Yale and Amherst go one step ahead of just being test blind. They are Subject test blind for SAT subject tests, which means they won’t accept Subject tests in their application.

    Have you missed the SAT this year due to coronavirus? The good news is that many tier 1 (including top ones like Harvard and Cornell) and tier 2 universities have waived SAT score requirement. That is why your overall application has never been more important. Whether you are looking for complete application support or just want to explore study abroad options, do yourself a favour and book a 15 minute personalized counseling slot with our admissions expert to get your profile evaluated. You deserve it!

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