Sep 20, 2013

Colleges requiring SAT Subject Tests® with the ACT or the SAT

Carnegie Mellon University
Because a number of highly selective colleges and universities post policies indicating they are willing to accept ACT with Writing scores in lieu of both SAT Reasoning and Subject Tests®, students sometimes are lulled into thinking that the policy extends to every college requiring Subject Tests for admission.

This is most definitely not the case.  Although the vast majority of four-year undergraduate programs do not require Subject Tests, a small number are quite firm about the requirement and will allow no substitutions.

In fact for some colleges, like the University of Virginia, that “strongly recommend” Subject Tests substitutions are not encouraged.  Here is the guidance provided on the UVa website.

If you are applying for admission as a first-year student, we require that you take the SAT I or the ACT. We also strongly recommend that you take two SAT II Subject Tests of your choice.”

Along the same lines, Johns Hopkins also “strongly encourages” students to take two Subject Tests regardless of whether they choose to submit the ACT with Writing or the SAT.  There are no provisions for making substitutions.   

And for students who have not yet taken Subject Tests for UVa or who were unaware of the policy, the UVa website goes on to say, “We strongly prefer that you complete all your testing by December of your senior year; but we will accept scores from January for the SAT II tests.”  Johns Hopkins also suggests the possibility of December as a last test date for SAT’s. 

So there’s still lots of time to fulfill this requirement.

For the record, the following is a list of colleges that require Subject Tests whether you plan to submit the ACT or the SAT (special thanks to Cigus Vanni for compiling this information):

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Carnegie Mellon University (PA) – exception: non-architecture majors, College of Fine
  • Arts (neither required nor recommended)
  • Cornell University (NY) – exception: applicants to Agriculture/Life Sciences and to
  • Industrial/Labor Relations (Subject Tests optional for these schools)
  • Dartmouth College (NH)
  • Franklin Olin College of Engineering (MA)
  • Harvard (MA)
  • Harvey Mudd College (CA)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Princeton University (NJ)
  • Webb Institute of Naval Architecture (NY) – note: Webb does not accept ACT
  • Williams College (MA)

Part Two of a two-part series on Subject Test requirements.

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