Updates for the class of 2019
- Carnegie Mellon University now recommends, rather than requires, Subject Tests. Recommendations for specific programs can be found on the university’s website. Note that the recommendation is still strong for most students: “Some students may find the cost of taking and submitting SAT Subject Tests to be prohibitive. Applicants won’t be penalized if the cost of taking the SAT Subject Tests causes financial hardship and as a result, prohibits their submission.”
Updates for the class of 2018
- Stanford has softened its policy from recommended to considered.
- Brown University requires the SAT with writing or the ACT with writing. They recommend, but do not require, the submission of two SAT Subject Tests of the student’s choice.
- Washington and Lee no longer requires Subject Tests.
- Mills College is now test optional.
Updates for the class of 2017
- Amherst College, Barnard College, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Haverford College, and Vassar College no longer require SAT Subject Tests, but Subject Tests will be considered if submitted.
- Williams College has dropped SAT Subject Tests; University of Virginia has dropped Subject Tests from recommended to considered; George Washington University is now test optional.
- Many of the schools listed below have dropped the Writing requirement for applicants submitting ACT scores, while some have added the SAT Essay as a requirement for applicants submitting SAT scores. [See our list of SAT Essay and ACT Writing requirements for updates and details.]
Other relevant posts include What is the Future of Subject Tests and Adam Ingersoll’s FAQ on the ins-and-outs of Subject Tests, which gives a full perspective on Subject Test decision-making.
Each year, the requirements and recommendations around SAT Subject Tests (SAT II’s for the many still using the old College Board name) grow more diverse. Colleges may find Subject Tests helpful, but they are not always in agreement about how the exams are helpful. The general trend is toward more flexible requirements, and no school has recently tightened requirements. Still, the most competitive colleges in the country tend to be found on this list and skew toward the “required” end of the spectrum.
Safer, Saner, and Sooner
Many colleges, in the words of Carleton College, feel that SAT Subject Tests “usually enhance a candidate’s credentials.” It’s the “usually” part that can make parents and students queasy. At Compass, we spend a lot of time discussing such fears. Practice tests are easy to take, score, and analyze—Compass offers free Subject Test exams almost every weekend of the year. Proctored practice tests are a safer, saner, and sooner alternative to waiting for an exam date to roll around and taking Subject Tests cold.
Colleges Using SAT Subject Tests in the 2018–2019 Admission Process
The table below can be sorted alphabetically or by policy. Keep in mind that a one-word category cannot encompass all situations, which is why the detail is provided. For example, some schools consider Subject Tests for most students but require them for specialized programs. You will find the college name linked to that school’s standardized testing policy.
- Colleges listed as Required have Subject Test policies that require at least a large portion of students to submit scores. In most cases, this means 2 Subject Tests in different subjects. Almost half of the colleges in this group actually allow for the ACT to substitute for both the SAT and SAT Subject Tests. We have left these colleges labeled Required, since SAT submitters will need to take Subject Tests. An applicant should always ask whether an ACT or the SAT Combo Pack better reflects his or her capabilities (and should keep the qualifications of other applicants firmly in mind). Needless to say, an applicant should be making these decisions with input from parents, counselors, and test experts.
- Colleges listed as Recommended range from those schools who find it useful for students to submit SAT Subject Test scores to those who fall just short of Required (Georgetown, Princeton, and Yale come to mind).
- Colleges listed as Considered are those who view Subject Tests as optional “supplemental information.” We only list colleges that specifically mention Subject Tests (or SAT II’s as many admission sites still refer to them). Even in this group, Subject Test scores can be important. Stanford, for example, considers the exams optional, but Subject Tests are an important way in which students can make their testing portfolio stand out at one of the most selective universities in the country.
- Colleges listed as Alternative are the small but growing number of schools that allow an applicant to submit Subject Test scores in lieu of SAT and ACT scores.
Homeschooled and International Students
Homeschooled students and international applicants should not depend upon this list. The requirements for both groups can be considerably more rigorous. Colleges prefer more data points to better understand these applicants’ academic strengths. Homeschoolers should spend the extra time searching out the testing policies of every college to which they might apply.
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