COVID-19 Changes: Test-Optional Colleges for the Class of 2021

Real-time updates as the landscape changes

Standardized Testing Changes for Class of 2021

Standardized testing requirements and the college admissions landscape change frequently at the best of times—during the time of COVID-19, as colleges scramble to address an unprecedented lack of testing opportunities for high school juniors, those requirements are changing nearly on a daily basis. 

At Private Prep, we want our students and families to be as informed as possible about these changes so that they can ultimately make the best decisions about their test prep and college admissions plans. To that end, we have compiled new and noteworthy standardized test policy changes in a central place below. Please note that we are updating this as often as we can, but even so, changes are occurring with great frequency. We recommend checking back often!

Colleges that have gone SAT / ACT optional for or starting with the class of 2021:

  • Amherst College (1 year only) 
  • Babson College (1 year only)
  • Boston College (1 year only)
  • Boston University (1 year only)
  • Brown University (1 year only)
  • Carleton College (1 year only)
  • Carnegie Mellon University (1 year only)
  • Case Western Reserve University (1-year pilot)
  • Chapman University
  • Claremont McKenna College (1 year only)
  • Clarkson University
  • College of Charleston (1-year pilot)
  • College of William & Mary (3-year pilot)
  • Colgate University (1 year only)
  • Columbia University (1 year only)
  • Cornell University (1 year – see our post for details)
  • Dartmouth College (1 year only)
  • Davidson College (3-year pilot)
  • Duke University (1 year only)
  • Elon University (3-year pilot)
  • Emory University (1 year only)
  • Fordham University (2-year pilot)
  • Georgetown University (1 year only; requires full testing history if students have taken any ACT, SAT, or Subject Tests)
  • Georgia Tech University (1 year only)
  • Grinnell College (1 year only)
  • Hamilton College (1 year only)
  • Harvard University (1 year only)
  • Haverford College (3-year pilot)
  • Johns Hopkins University (1 year only)
  • Lehigh University (1 year only)
  • Macalester College
  • MIT (1 year only)
  • Miami University of Ohio (1 year only)
  • Middlebury College (3-year pilot)
  • Northeastern University (1 year only)
  • Northwestern University (1 year only)
  • Oberlin College (3-year pilot)
  • Ohio State University (1 year only)
  • Ohio University (permanent)
  • Oregon State University
  • Penn State University (1 year only)
  • Pomona College (1 year only)
  • Princeton University (1 year only)
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1 year)
  • Rhodes College (3-year pilot)
  • Rice University (1 year only)
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Santa Clara University (2 years)
  • Southern Methodist University (1 year only)
  • Scripps College
  • Stanford University (1 year only)
  • Swarthmore College (2-year pilot)
  • SUNY system (1 year only)
  • Tufts University (3 year trial)
  • Tulane University (1 year)
  • University of California system (all campuses — one year only)
  • University of Delaware (1 year only, except for DE residents)
  • University of Georgia (1 year only)
  • University of Maryland, College Park (1 year only)
  • University of Miami (1-year pilot)
  • University of North Carolina, all campuses (1 year only)
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Pennsylvania (1 year only)
  • University of Pittsburgh (Arts & Sciences — 1 year only)
  • University of Redlands
  • University of Rhode Island (1 year only)
  • University of Richmond (1 year only)
  • University of San Diego
  • University of South Carolina (1 year only)
  • University of Southern California (1 year only)
  • University of Texas at Austin (1 year only)
  • University of Virginia (1-year pilot)
  • University of Washington – Seattle
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison (1 year only)
  • Vanderbilt University (1 year only)
  • Vassar College (1-year pilot)
  • Villanova University (1 year only)
  • Virginia Tech (1 year only)
  • Washington University in St. Louis (1 year only)
  • Wellesley College (1 year only)
  • Williams College (1 year only)
  • Yale University (1 year only)

Colleges that have gone test blind:

  • Caltech (2 years)
  • Cal State system (1 year)
  • Catholic University
  • CUNY system (1 year)
  • Loyola University New Orleans

Colleges that have announced changes to SAT Subject Test policies:

  • Amherst College — Subject Tests no longer considered as part of the application process
  • Dartmouth College — Subject Tests changed from recommended to optional
  • Duke University — Subject Tests changed from “strongly recommended with SAT” to “not required”
  • Harvard University — Students who do not submit Subject Tests this fall “will not be disadvantaged”
  • MIT — Subject Tests no longer considered as part of the application process
  • University of Pennsylvania  — Subject Tests changed from recommended to optional
  • Princeton University — Students who do not submit Subject Tests this fall “will not be disadvantaged”
  • Yale University — Will not review SAT Subject Tests for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle

Learn more about what “test optional” really means here. For a complete list of schools with test-optional and test-flexible policies, visit

For other important information about college policy changes, specifically with respect to virtual visit opportunities and changed deposit deadlines, visit NACAC’s online tool. As always, we are here to help you navigate the quickly changing landscape. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Becky McGlensey