Can you get into college without the SAT or ACT? Updated for 2022-23

Can you get into college without the SAT (or ACT)? Yes! Applicants have more ways than ever to attend college without taking standardized tests.
Written by Genevieve Carlton, Contributor
students taking a test
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A growing number of schools no longer require SAT or ACT scores. Applying to test-optional schools is only one option to get into college without the SAT. Applicants can also consider community colleges or international universities. 

Before signing up for a standardized test, make sure you understand the admission requirements at your schools. Read on to research your options for going to college without standardized test scores.

Updates to the SAT and ACT for 2022-23

Are you taking the SAT or ACT for the 2022-23 school year? Make sure you understand changes to the tests — and consider whether you need standardized test scores to get into college. 

Many in-person and online schools no longer require the SAT or ACT. And some schools will not consider your test scores even if you submit them. 

What is the SAT? And what is the ACT? These standardized tests are the most common undergraduate admission exams. But changes are in the works for both tests. 

The SAT is moving to a fully digital format in 2024. Test-takers will also be able to complete the exam in two hours rather than the current three hours. The change will also allow calculators for the entire math section. 

With the ACT, test-takers can now retake individual sections of the exam. If you retake sections or the whole test, you'll receive a "superscore" based on your top section scores from each testing session. 

Ways to get into college without taking the SAT and/or ACT

Want to go to college without taking the SAT or ACT? It's easier than ever to apply for college without standardized test scores. Here are the most common ways to get into college without the SAT.

Apply to test-optional and/or test-blind colleges

A growing number of colleges no longer require standardized test scores for admissions. In fact, in 2022, two-thirds of colleges won't require SAT scores. That includes some Ivy League institutions.

These schools fall into two categories: Test-optional and test-blind.

Test-optional admissions means applicants decide whether to provide test scores. Test-blind admission decisions, by comparison, do not factor test scores in at all.

With so many schools opting to drop standardized tests, you can avoid taking the ACT or SAT without greatly limiting your college options.

Enroll in community college

Community colleges do not typically ask for SAT or ACT scores when admitting students. Most community colleges only require proof of a high school diploma, GED, or HiSET. 

After taking classes at a community college, you can transfer to a four-year college. Students who meet the minimum transfer requirements — typically 15-30 credits — do not need to provide standardized test scores.

This option can save students money. Most community colleges charge significantly lower tuition rates than four-year institutions. However, it does mean attending two different schools and applying twice. 

Enroll in a college abroad

Applying to an international college offers another option to enroll without the SAT or ACT. 

Many international universities do not require these standardized tests. However, they may ask for different test scores. You can transfer to a U.S. college later, though credits may not transfer as easily as from a community college. 

Because other countries structure their higher education programs differently, carefully consider whether enrolling as an international student makes sense for your circumstances. 

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