2017 Best Test Optional Colleges in America

The 2017 Best Test Optional Colleges ranking filters the 2017 Best Colleges ranking to only include colleges that don't require SAT or ACT scores for admission. Explore the list of test optional schools to find a college that's right for you.
See how this ranking was calculated
Viewing 1-25 of 100
  1. 1

    Bowdoin College

    • Brunswick, ME
    • 640 reviews
    Freshman:Whether its the Outing Club, the Literary Magazine, the Film Society, or an a Capella group, there is always something for every kind of person to get involved in. Also, people here are incredibly friendly and willing to go out of their way to help you. Bowdoin's size, with 1700 students, really enables this sense of community. If I could change one thing about Bowdoin, I would offer class credit for laboratory time. Also , this is just my wish , but I think Bowdoin should advertise more to the outside world. I grew up overseas, so most of my other friends had not heard of Bowdoin, or Brunswick for that matter. I can understand that I was surprised that not many people in United States knew about this school either. The social scene is great on the weekends, but for the most part exists only on the weekends as people work very hard during the week. As for food, you can guess exactly how delicious it is from just taking a peek at the NYtimes article and the college rankings.
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  2. 2

    Bates College

    • Lewiston, ME
    • 319 reviews
    Sophomore:The campus and the college itself are great, other than the lack of diversity. However, the location isn't prime, as there's no much to do outside the campus community, unless you have a car and are able to drive to other places. Also, it's Maine so the winters can be very long, cold, and gloomy. But, you already knew that because it's Maine!
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  3. 3

    Wake Forest University

    • Winston Salem, NC
    • 724 reviews
    College Freshman:Wake Forest is the perfect school if you are looking for like minded, career driven individuals that are very well rounded and are incredibly aware of everything. The size is perfect so that you don't have to see the people you don't want to see everywhere, yet you see a ton of people you know at the same time. The school has people from all over the place and brings together bright minded people that are easy to get along with. Keeping up with the academic portion of the school can get difficult, but is manageable with basic time management skills. Also, there is resources that can be tapped if you are having difficulties in school. The campus is well connected and no building is too far to walk to. Fraternities are the social scene on campus and it is difficult to have fun without being in a Greek organization. There are a ton of extracurricular activities and will have a club or organization that meets you're interests. As a second semester Freshman, I could not have made a better decision with my college decision.
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  4. 4

    Smith College

    • Northampton, MA
    • 828 reviews
    College Freshman:The academics are great, workload hard but manageable. The access to the 5 College Consortium and PVTA lets you basically take any class you can think of. Career services is great if you're an Econ or STEM major, less helpful if you're in the other social sciences and humanities. There are ample opportunities and funding for internships and studying abroad. The social scene is what you make it. In the quad, there is a general social atmosphere that (to me) makes college less stressful. Also good parties on the weekends! Other areas of campus tend to be quieter and have more study-heavy atmospheres, especially Green Street.
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  5. 5

    College of the Holy Cross

    • Worcester, MA
    • 470 reviews
    Alum:The College has an exceptional tradition and especially high academic standards. Its alumni are close and tightly-knit... a great thing for friendship and professional interests. The campus is among the most beautiful in the country and if Worcester is not Boston, it is lively and within easy travel not only to Boston but to ski country to the West and North. Though (like Boston College and Georgetown) it has a Catholic history, kids who are not Catholic will find it a hidden treasure and on a par with New England's finest liberal arts colleges. Not to be overlooked!
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  6. 6

    Bryn Mawr College

    • Bryn Mawr, PA
    • 390 reviews
    Freshman:I came to Bryn Mawr fearful, nervous, and alone. Nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming kindness and support from my peers. At Bryn Mawr College, the success of few quickly turns into the success of the many. The party scene isn't phenomenal, but everyone finds their people at this school and everyone's emotional well-being is prioritized. We have tons of traditions that help to unify us as a campus and to foster long lasting friendships. We are a very liberal campus, full of boisterous young activists and individuals who genuinely love learning. At Bryn Mawr, everyone is treated with respect and tolerance. Racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, etc. are not tolerated, and hateful individuals quickly realize that this is not the campus for them. We are made of wisdom. We are made of love. We are Bryn Mawr.
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  7. 7

    Wesleyan University

    • Middletown, CT
    • 654 reviews
    College Senior:Academics vary by department, but generally I find myself in small enough classes where I get enough attention. Many are seminar based with lots of reading, which put a great emphasis on conversation. You can study ANY subject under the sun, and picking classes from all the exciting options is really hard! Professors are honestly hit or miss. Some (a slight majority?) are the most brilliant, passionate, helpful educators I've ever had, and are great resources for whatever we are studying. But I've had some professors that are incredibly disorganized and terrible at imparting knowledge onto others. Definitely weigh in upperclassmen opinions of faculty when picking classes (RateMyProfessor is v outdated).
    More about Wesleyan University
  8. 8

    Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    • Worcester, MA
    • 598 reviews
    Alum:WPI courses are structured in four terms; they are seven-week long, with a 10-day break between A and B Term, a month of Christmas vacation between B and C, and another 10-day break between C and D Term. While this structure makes courses very intense compared to other colleges, the fact that they last for only 7 weeks is refreshing and improves the students' quick-thinking ability. The courses are heavily based on practical work, research, public speaking, and travelling abroad. The class sizes vary, and while freshmen are often taught in big lecture rooms, they eventually develop stronger interactions with their professors, once their courses become more degree-specific. WPI is expensive, but it tends to be big on scholarships and financial aid, especially towards international students. Most freshmen live in dorms, which makes socializing easy, and then move to off-campus housing. Don't expect much from the Woo nightlife, but there are plenty of student parties throughout the year.
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  9. 9

    Franklin & Marshall College

    • Lancaster, PA
    • 772 reviews
    College Freshman:Our school is incredibly diverse and has a very inclusive and welcoming atmosphere. Everyone is incredibly friendly and looks out for their peers. The school offers a wide range of extracurricular and club activities that get the greater majority of the school's undergraduate population involved in campus activities. All of the teachers are easily accessible outside of class and are active in getting the most out of their students. There are so many different resources for studying, receiving extra help or asking questions outside of class. All of the students and Professors have a lot of school spirit - everyone goes to games, performances and everything in between. All in all, Franklin & Marshall is a very positive environment that fosters educational growth and promotes students ability to think critically for the rest of their lives.
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  10. 10

    Mount Holyoke College

    • South Hadley, MA
    • 779 reviews
    College Freshman:I love Mount Holyoke so far! I'm enjoying it so much more than High School! I'm loving being on the rowing team, and reading and learning new and interesting things and having great, interesting, thought-provoking discussions both in class and out. The vegan food options are great and plentiful and my dorm (Safford) is really nice (except its really hot and has really squeaky floors). I think M&Cs and mountain day make the school unique. I would definitely choose Moho again even though it doesn't have quite as good financial aid as Smith.
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  11. 11

    Pitzer College

    • Claremont, CA
    • 594 reviews
    Senior:I am currently a senior at Pitzer and have loved my experience here! The social life is amazing and inclusive, the academics are rigorous but the professors are always there to help, and the campus and students are quirky as ever.
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  12. 12

    Skidmore College

    • Saratoga Springs, NY
    • 563 reviews
    Freshman:Skidmore College is a small liberal arts institution in upstate New York. My experience thus far in my collegiate career has been optimistic and promising. The professors I have had so far have been a few of the best I have ever had the opportunity to engage in conversation with. All in different subject matters and all with different teaching approaches, each of these professors have had a mind that goes beyond the typical academic teacher. They inspired me to challenge myself beyond what I thought was capable and they are a large part of why my experience at Skidmore College has been positive. The friends I have made here have easily become some of the most interesting, kind and genuine people I have had the opportunity to meet. The social life at Skidmore is by no means equivalent to a large university, but it is very much so alive and exciting. I have loved my experience at Skidmore College.
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  13. 13

    St. Lawrence University

    • Canton, NY
    • 707 reviews
    Freshman:SLU is an awesome place to go to school! I am only a freshman here, but I have enjoyed by first year so much! Everyone is extremely nice, and it is easy to find a friend group! The campus community is very close, I will say that must be partly due to the fact that off of the campus there isn't much to do! St. Lawrence has great relationships with their alumni, and offers amazing help in career services! Overall, I love it here!
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  14. 14

    George Washington University

    • Washington, DC
    • 1,847 reviews
    Freshman:I love George Washington University! I have found a strong sense of belonging here by joining the Student Admissions Representatives team, where there are people who are just like me!The professors are awesome too! They are not intimidating at all. Despite their prestiges in their own academic fields, they could be really easy-going and approachable who really try their best to assist their students to succeed.
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  15. 15

    Lawrence University

    • Appleton, WI
    • 641 reviews
    Senior:I like the help a student can receive from professors because of Lawrence University's low student to teacher ratio. The conservatory really is a hidden jewel of the music world, with the quality of musicianship only limited by how much work a student invests. I do believe there could be more diversity in professors and faculty, but these needs have been voiced and at least some in the administration have listened to them. I have heard of problems related to the school's administration, and I know that offices like campus life and financial aid can be difficult to deal with. I believe however that this is more than counterbalanced by a supportive and receptive student body and faculty.
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  16. 16

    Providence College

    • Providence, RI
    • 733 reviews
    College Senior:Providence College, located in Providence, Rhode Island is a relatively small campus with around 5,000 undergrad. What makes it special going to a school this size, is that you will always see a familiar face when you are walking on campus. Providence has so much to offer and has so many clubs and activities for students to get involved with! PC is also located only a few minutes from downtown Providence and Federal Hill, which are main attractions for this small state! Nightlife at PC is also fun, and there are plenty of bars to head too in the city and there is even a bar on campus!
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  17. 17

    Drake University

    • Des Moines, IA
    • 822 reviews
    Freshman:Drake is a great place to meet amazing and passionate people as well as get involved in all sorts of activities and causes. It is the perfect size, small school with just under 4,000 students. I know every professor and they know me. Everyone goes out of their way to make the best experience for you!
    More about Drake University
  18. 18

    Clark University

    • Worcester, MA
    • 675 reviews
    Junior:Clark University is a located in Worcester, MA. Though campus is safe, the area surrounding campus can be sketchy at times; but, like all universities, the safety of students is a top priority. It is a very interesting and diverse community of students and professors. Most professors, faculty, and staff are kind and have their doors open to students when ever possible. One thing Clark is really focusing on these days is the job availability to students within the campus community so as to have students gain experience within their fields of study, or within other fields that may not pertain to their field of study.
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  19. 19

    Temple University

    • Philadelphia, PA
    • 4,759 reviews
    Freshman:This was my first semester at Temple University. The classes that I took were mostly general education courses but all of my professors were extremely down to earth and enjoyable to work with. Unlike many other colleges I feel that the professors at Temple care about the students in there classes.
    Temple is an extremely diverse college also. It is very involved in the surrounding community and students from all nationalities and walks of life can be found here. There are multiple events held every semester that help to ensure that diversity is encouraged. The many food trucks throughout campus also add to this as food from many different cultures are represented.
    Overall from my experiences on campus between professors, students, athletics and night life, I love my college. Plus there is always something amazing going on in the Liacouras center!
    More about Temple University
  20. 20

    Muhlenberg College

    • Allentown, PA
    • 407 reviews
    College Junior:The English department is brilliant. The Theatre & Dance department is well-funded, to say the least—just be careful to take classes with a professor who suits you. One of the theatre professors is the worst teacher I've had in my life; I retook the same class with a different professor (Larry Singer), and he's one of the best I've had in my life. Take risks! If something looks interesting, give it a shot—I signed up for a film class on a whim; it fulfilled one of my graduation requirements, and it was my favorite class of the semester. The professor (Tom Cartelli) also was extremely supportive when I was going through personal stuff. I took dance classes and hated it, but I took Movement Workshop for Dancers & Actors, and it changed my life! However, if you're not doing well in a class, you should withdraw right away. I tried to push through, and because I put so much effort into it, my coursework for my other classes suffered as well—NOT worth it. The classes are small, which is great, although the downside is that you will be heavily penalized for missing class, which can be a problem if (e.g.) you get sick.
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  21. 21

    Loyola University Maryland

    • Baltimore, MD
    • 928 reviews
    Freshman:I loved the size and academic opportunities, as well as the extracurriculars. The size was perfect because it is nearly impossible to walk across campus without seeing someone you know and saying "hi"; however, I meet new people all the time! Loyola has really strong academics, with professors who take the time to get to know each individual student and are constantly available for extra help. The school also hosts activity fairs each semester, and it's really easy and fun to get involved in whatever you want!
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  22. 22

    Allegheny College

    • Meadville, PA
    • 827 reviews
    Alum:Allegheny is a hidden gem to American private liberal arts colleges. It has truly changed the ways that I interact with academics, people, and view the world. You'll build connections across disciplines while adding new, challenging, and diverse experiences from faculty, clubs, sports, music, the outdoors, art, and finding your own path. It's easy to run with a passion that you hold and just as easy to tap into the passions of others with more than 120 clubs represented on a campus of ~2000 students. Prepare to be amazed and changed!
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  23. 23

    Stonehill College

    • Easton, MA
    • 474 reviews
    Alum:The best part of attending Stonehill College is the sense of community. It's large enough that there are plenty of academic and extra curricular events in which to engage, yet small enough that professors are friendly and accessible, and each student has a place to belong. As an institution of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Stonehill students have ample opportunities to pursue religious education and celebration of faith without requirement or burden to participate. Athletic varsity and club teams are competitive yet fun. Campus lies between Boston and Providence. Dorm residence is comfortable and lively. A Stonehill education is truly rounded, thorough, and meaningful. Stonehill graduates are prepared for the working world and to create a more just and compassionate world.
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  24. 24

    Transylvania University

    • Lexington, KY
    • 257 reviews
    College Sophomore:Transylvania truly is my "home away from home." I've never felt such a belonging and pride before as I do being a student here. The significantly small campus community size makes it easy to feel connected to every other student and the location could not be more ideal. If you want to enjoy the city, walk three blocks downtown, but if you feel like cruising the countryside, you're only a five minute drive from the "horse capital of the world" and gorgeous farmland. Transy is a little taste from every dish, and you only grow more attached to it with time.
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  25. 25

    Willamette University

    • Salem, OR
    • 685 reviews
    Freshman:Willamette has been a great experience so far! The professors are incredible and small class sizes makes the learning personal. The campus is beautiful, but we have issues with our campus safety officers in regards to their response time and openness with issues happening on campus. It's difficult to find a variety of healthy options, the cafeteria seems to find a salad bar to be the only healthy option needed.
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