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Almost 200 Top Tier Colleges Don’t Require SAT Scores -- Yes, Really

Worried about the SAT? These 27 top colleges don't think you should be.

For more than 80 years, the SAT has been the leading standardized test for college admission in the U.S. The SAT has also been the bane of most high school students' existence for most of that time, with kids cramming, stressing and cramming some more in the months -- and sometimes years -- before they take the exam.

If you're a student about to take the SAT or ACT, you might think that a high score is your ticket to success, but your whole life doesn't actually hinge on it. Most, if not all, colleges look at ~the whole package~ when choosing students to accept -- and for a lot of college hopefuls, even a perfect score doesn't guarantee a full ride down easy street.

Recent reports from the National Association for College Admission Counseling have encouraged colleges and universities to reconsider their use of and need for standardized testing at all in the admission process. And some of the best schools in the country have taken the pledge. You heard that right. There are now more than 800 colleges -- 195 of them "top tier" schools -- that don't require the SAT or ACT to apply.

"We assessed our process and evaluated what was most important to us in selecting students for admission," Sharon Alston, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Enrollment at American University told MTV News. "There are many ways to assess talent and fit with an institution. Providing students with the option to have their testing considered (or not) in the admission process, removes an element of stress and allows students to present themselves in their best light."

Take a look below at 27 of the top schools in America that don't require the SAT or ACT for admitting students.

  1. According to Vice Provost Alston, to apply to AU, you need to submit "the application for admission, two letters of recommendation (counselor and teacher), high school transcript, and standardized testing (SAT or ACT) -- unless the student communicates the desire to be considered without testing." Between 15% and 18% of applicants choose to apply under AU's test optional admission program.

  2. Wikipedia
  3. According to the 2016 edition of Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, Smith ranks 14.

  4. "Bowdoin was the first highly selective college in the country to make [the] SAT optional -- we decided to do that 1969," Scott Hood, Senior Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs of Bowdoin College, told MTV News.

    "Back in '69 they found that there was a very modest correlation between SAT scores and the students' performance in college," Hood continued, "and they also felt that the SAT was being overemphasized in the admissions process." That choice hasn't hurt the college at all, as it remains a top-tier school to this day.

  5. Frequently listed at the top of college "best" lists in liberal arts, the college is well known for its rigorous curriculum.

  6. Bryn Mawr is actually a new addition to the ever-growing list, adopting its SAT-optional policy in 2014 for students within the U.S.

    "We review their applications holistically," Peaches Valdes, Bryn Mawr's Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, told MTV News. "For us, their transcript will still weigh the most, because that tells us a student's ability to meet the academic demands of the college but also show us their ability to balance academic work, extracurricular activities -- simply being a teenager -- rather than evaluating how do they perform on a Saturday morning at 8 a.m. providing information on a very narrow subject."

  7. Wikipedia
  8. Nestled in Northwest Washington DC, GWU is known for its strength in politically-minded majors like Public Affairs, Government and Political Communication.

  9. The college, mostly situated in Greenwich Village in NYC, is known for its open intellectual environment.

  10. Temple
  11. Ithaca, in addition to being a top school for journalism, film and media, is known for its stunning location among lakes, waterfalls and gorges.

For a full list of colleges that don't require the SAT or ACT to apply, go to FairTest.