Last Updated on January 18, 2023
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Disruptions to the ACT and SAT, prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, have pushed many colleges to rethink testing requirements. Among the highest-ranked National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges with flexible or optional testing policies, some schools require students to demonstrate their academic abilities in other ways, such as by writing essays, assembling a work portfolio or submitting results from Advanced Placement exams. Others provide that flexibility to only certain types of students, such as those who are interested in specific college majors. The following 20 colleges and universities were identified based on self-reported data from an annual U.S. News survey, and are listed in descending rank order beginning with National Universities followed by National Liberal Arts Colleges. This list was compiled using data submitted in the spring and summer of 2020 and may not include higher-ranked colleges that changed testing policies during or after data collection. Be sure to consult each college’s website for more information about admissions policies. For a complete list of test-flexible and test-optional schools, visit the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.what colleges can i get into with a 27 act what colleges accept a 26 act score what colleges accept a 15 act score colleges that accept 16 act score
If you have been putting off the ACT/SAT or are hoping to retake one, you need to know when you can take your last test so that your scores will arrive at your schools in time. In other words, when is the very latest you can take the SAT or ACT for your college applications?
Read on to find out when you can still take the SAT or ACT—and when you’d be too late. You might be surprised by how little time you have!
Most regular decision college application deadlines are around January 1, though some are earlier in mid- to late December and some are as late as mid-January. I recommend keeping New Year’s in mind as the general date your college applications will be due. (Note that if you are applying to a school early action or early decision, your application deadline will likely be much sooner!)
The standard date you find out your admission decision is April 1 (though some colleges release results earlier in March). But while admissions decisions are finalized in March, applications are being read and evaluated long before then. Typically, applications are read for the first time in January and maybe February, and decisions are made in February and March. This is why having your entire application submitted by the deadline, including your SAT/ACT scores, is so crucial.
In many cases, your application could be read before your parents get around to taking down the holiday decorations …
In order for scores to arrive in time to be considered in January, the last ACT/SAT test dates are usually in December. (For the 2020-21 school year, this is the SAT on December 5 and the ACT on December 12.) December scores usually arrive in time to be considered during the initial application reads in January and February.
However, if you take the tests in February or March, your scores won’t get to your schools until March or April, which is typically well after your application is read for the first time. (In early 2021, the ACT is on February 6 and the SAT is on March 13.)
Since there is no longer a January SAT test date, this means December really is your last chance for the SAT for almost all schools. While a handful of schools do accept the February ACT, these policies aren’t the norm. Ideally, you want to finish your SAT/ACT testing before senior year so you can focus on applications exclusively.
If you’re taking any of the final test dates, you have to make sure you put your colleges down to receive your scores when you’re signing up for the last available test. In other words, don’t wait to see your scores before you send them, or else it will be too late!
If there’s a problem with your score reports or they get delayed, sometimes colleges will accept a screenshot or printed version of your test report sent from your guidance counselor as a provisional result. That said, this won’t replace an official score report from the College Board or ACT, Inc., which needs to be sent along eventually.
Last SAT/ACT Test Dates: Advice for Your College Applications
If you’re reading this as a junior or younger, aim to have your standardized testing done before senior year, or at the very least by the last October ACT/November SAT dates (this means the October 25th ACT and the November 7th SAT for the 2020-21 school year). This will make the application process less stressful since you’ll only have to focus on applications, not testing. Studying for the ACT/SAT while also working on an your applications in December can be a real stressor and might result in subpar applications!
Keep in mind that if you’re sending SAT/ACT scores from the last possible test date, you’re taking a risk. If it’s your first test score and it’s not within your schools’ average score ranges, it won’t help your chances of admission.
It also won’t look good if it’s a retake and your score goes down. (While most schools focus on your highest test scores, some require students to send all SAT scores or all ACT scores and will take all scores, high or low, into consideration.) This is why we recommend having your testing done by senior year—including retakes.
If you really need to take one of the last possible ACT/SAT dates, plan ahead as much as possible so you have plenty of time to both study and work on your applications.
The Latest Possible ACT/SAT Dates for Top Schools
In this section, we’ll be taking a look at the last possible ACT/SAT dates for top colleges. We’ll also show you how to look up this information yourself for any school you’re interested in applying to. (Note that, for the 2020/2021 admissions cycle many schools have suspended their ACT/SAT requirement due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, if you do choose to submit SAT or ACT scores, you still need to send them in by the deadlines, so these dates still hold as the last date you can take the ACT or SAT.)
what schools don’t accept act
Schools Whose Final Testing Date Is in December
The majority of schools we researched will accept the December ACT and December SAT, but no later SATs or ACTs. If any of your top schools are on this list, do your best to complete your testing as soon as possible!
You’ll need to have your standardized tests completed by winter break if you’re applying to any of these schools!
For regular decision, Amherst requires all materials to be received by January 4. This means you should aim for the December ACT or December SAT at the very latest if you are submitting test scores.
According to Brown’s website, “Most first-year students choose to apply under our Regular Decision plan, which requires applying by January 5 (11:59 p.m. applicant’s local time).” (emphasis mine).
Caltech lists December as its standardized testing deadline, meaning you can take the December ACT or SAT at the latest. Applications are due by January 3 for regular decision.
Everything has to be submitted by January 2 for Regular Admission for Cornell, which means your last-chance test dates for the SAT/ACT are in December.
At Dartmouth, because the regular decision deadline is January 2, the last possible SAT/ACT test dates for regular admission are in December.
Although Duke’s last test date is December for both the ACT and SAT, the school will accept ACT scores from the February test date and consider them as additional scores in your application file. The regular decision deadline is January 4.
Georgetown’s deadline is slightly later in January than those of many other top schools: “Regular Decision applicants should have all application materials postmarked by January 10″ (emphasis mine). The December ACT and SAT are still the last test dates whose scores will arrive before the deadline.
There are two regular decision deadlines at Harvard: December 15 (the preferred deadline) and January 1 (the final deadline).
Harvard states on its admissions website, “Although it is possible to submit scores from tests taken as late as the December SAT and the February ACT, we recommend that you submit testing as early as possible” (emphasis mine).
However, the school also says, “Scores submitted before the end of November will allow us to begin our evaluation process for those submitting applications by December 15.” So even though you can submit scores from December tests, the earlier you submit, the better!
At MIT, most parts of the application are due by January 1. Therefore, “you must take the required tests on or before the November test date for Early Action or the December test date for Regular Action. These are the latest scores that will reach the Admissions Committee in time for review.”
Since the application deadline for regular decision is January 3, the latest tests you can take for Northwestern are the December ACT or SAT.
As the deadline for regular decision is January 1, “regular decision applicants must complete all SAT testing by the December test date. All ACT testing must be completed by the December test date.”
For the regular admission deadline on January 2, Stanford’s last test date is in December for both the ACT and SAT.
University of Pennsylvania
According to Penn’s admissions website, the regular decision deadline is January 5, meaning the last test dates accepted are those in December for both the SAT and ACT.
Vanderbilt’s website states the following: “For students applying under Early Decision II or Regular Decision (submission deadline January 1), the last opportunity to take the exam is the December administration” (emphasis mine).
Washington University in Saint Louis
“The last test date accepted will be the December testing,” writes the WUSTL website. So at the latest, you can take the December SAT or ACT for Regular Decision (deadline January 2), or the October SAT or ACT for Early Decision (deadline November 1).
You have to take the ACT or SAT by December for it to be added to your file at Williams in time for the January 8 regular decision deadline.
The majority of college applicants are high school seniors, and most of the college application advice out there is aimed at them. But what do you do if you don’t fall into this narrow category? Our eBook on how to prepare for and apply to college as a nontraditional student will walk you through everything you need to know, from the coursework you should have under your belt to how to get letters of recommendation when you’re not a high school senior.
Schools That Accept Testing Through February
Some top schools have even later testing deadlines and will accept the early February ACT. Again, these schools are in the minority, so do your best to complete your testing much earlier than February of your senior year!
University of Chicago
UChicago says that it will accept January SAT scores and February ACT scores. However, since there is no longer a January SAT test date (it was replaced by the August date), your last possible SAT test date is actually the one in December. You’ll still have the February ACT, though.
The deadline for regular decision is January 4.
The last testing dates Yale will accept are the December SAT and the February ACT. Applications for regular decision are due by January 2.
How to Look Up the Last ACT/SAT Date for Any School
We couldn’t include the final SAT/ACT date for every single college in the country! Use this guide to learn how to look this info up anywhere you’re applying.
First, search “[School Name] regular decision deadline” on Google.
I’m searching for Wellesley College’s last possible SAT and ACT dates. The first link, “Decision Plans and Deadlines,” looks promising, so I’ll start there.
This search should pull up the page on the school’s admissions site with regular decision dates and deadlines. The admissions page will typically list the last SAT/ACT dates a school will accept for consideration.
For the regular decision deadline of January 8, Wellesley lists the last possible test dates for the SAT or ACT as “early December of your senior year.”
If you’re looking up a school and can’t find a deadline page that lists SAT/ACT dates, check its FAQ page—there’s often a question there about SAT/ACT testing. Look for questions such as “When is the latest I can take the SAT/ACT?” and “How long does it take for SAT/ACT scores to arrive?”
If there’s no info about the last ACT/SAT dates on either your school’s deadlines page or FAQ page (which is unlikely!), call the admissions office and ask about the last test date you can sign up for if applying regular decision.
Key Takeaways: The Last Test Dates for Regular Admissions
Most schools have regular decision admissions deadlines on or around January 1. These deadlines vary slightly depending on the school and can be as early as mid-December or as late as mid-January.
As a result, usually your absolute last chance to take the SAT or ACT is in December; however, it’s advisable to opt for an earlier test date, if possible. If you decide to take the December test, be sure to choose your score recipients as you register for the test. This ensures that your scores will arrive at your schools before the January deadline.
While results from a December test should arrive in time, it’s best to take the SAT/ACT as early as possible—typically starting in the fall of your junior year. This way you have plenty of time to retake the test should you want to get a higher score.
colleges with february deadlines
University of Tulsa
Preferred deadline: Jan 15 and rolling admissions after that
The University of Tulsa began as Henry Kendall College in 1882. The school is named the greenest university in Oklahoma and powers its Case Tennis Center through rooftop solar panels. Students and employees at the University of Tulsa volunteered more than 70,000 community service hours last year through the True Blue Neighbors program.
University of Pittsburgh
The University of Pittsburgh is a state-related research university, founded as the Pittsburgh Academy in 1787. Pitt researchers led by Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine in 1955. Pitt surgeons have performed 17,000+ organ transplants, making Pittsburgh the world’s transplantation capital. The first heavier-than-air powered aircraft to make a sustained flight was created by Pitt astronomer Samuel Langley.
Pennsylvania State University
Deadline: Rolling admissions after November 30.
Penn State is ranked No. 8 (tied) for the best online bachelor’s programs in the country in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 “Best Online Programs.” Penn State began offering systematic advanced-degree work in 1922 with the formation of the Graduate School. A college of medicine and teaching hospital were established in 1967 with a $50 million gift from the charitable trusts of renowned chocolate magnate Milton S. Hershey (yes, the same guy who you can thank for Hershey Park).
SUNY University at Buffalo
Deadline: August 7.
SUNY University at Buffalo prides itself on being a research-intensive public university. UB is the largest and most comprehensive campus of all sixty four state campuses with about 20,000 undergraduate students and close to 10,000 professional and graduate students. University at Buffalo cares not only about research (the school spends almost $400 million on research every year), but international students. As their site reads, “For the past 12 years, UB has been among the top 25 US institutions enrolling the largest number of international students. UB partners with 85 leading universities around the world and sends more than 600 students abroad each year.”
University of Michigan
Deadline: Feb 1.
The University of Michigan has one of the largest alumni networks in the world with over 675,000 U-M grads still living. University of Michigan requires supplemental essays (but don’t worry, we have a guide). If you’re a Michigan resident with a family income of less than $65,000 and are admitted to the university, U-M will cover your tuition for four years of undergraduate study on their Ann Arbor campus.
University of Wisconsin
Deadline: Feb 1.
The UW Marching Band is nationally famous for its Fifth Quarter, a celebration that takes place after UW football games. Win or lose, Badger fans sing, dance, and cheer while the band plays traditional favorites such as “On, Wisconsin,” “Varsity,” and “You’ve Said It All” (the Bud song). Vitamin A and B were discovered at the University of Wisconsin in 1914. UW–Madison has a $12.4 billion annual impact on Wisconsin’s economy that helps support 128,146 jobs across the state.
Deadline: Feb 1.
Every year, students at Indiana University dance for 36 hours straight during the IU Dance Marathon to benefit Riley Children’s Hospital. To date, they’ve raised more than $24 million. Indiana University graduates have received awards such as Tonys, Oscars, Nobel Prizes, Pulitzer Prizes, Emmys, Grammys, Olympic medals, Guggenheims, and Fulbrights.
Salve Regina University
Deadline: Feb 1.
Salve Regina has 51 buildings on 80 acres in the heart of Newport’s Bellevue Avenue Historic District. Salve Regina accepts the Common App, for which we made an essay prompt guide. The University enrolls more than 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students from across the U.S. and around the world. Salve Regina’s diverse range of academic programs is complemented by community service initiatives and a range of extracurricular activities.
University of Rhode Island
Deadline: Feb 1.
56% of University of Rhode Island students are in-state. URI claims that it is the only public institution in Rhode Island offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional students the distinctive educational opportunities of a major research university. There are more than 120 student organizations at URI—from cycling and sailing to slam poetry and meditation.
Priority deadline: March 1 and rolling admissions on a space-available basis after that
Drake University is a mid-sized, private university in Des Moines, Iowa. Drake enrolls more than 3,300 undergraduates and 1,700 graduate students from 40 states and more than 40 countries. These students choose from more than 70 majors, minors, and concentrations and 20 graduate degrees offered through six colleges and schools.
Florida Southern College
Priority deadline: March 1 rolling admissions on a space-available basis after that
The Association of Campus entertainment hosts blockbuster and throwback films throughout the year at the Southern Cinema. FSC has a Fair-well Festival every year complete with food, rides, novelties, and music. Florida Southern College students are able to take a break from study stress to enjoy late-night breakfasts (9-11 PM) during Finals Week in the Fall and Spring. 94% of FSC students live on-campus.
Chicago State University
Priority deadline: April 1 and rolling admissions after that
Chicago State University opened its doors as a teacher training school in a leaky railroad freight car in Blue Island, Illinois on September 2, 1867. Today, in contrast, the university is a fully accredited public, urban institution located on 161-picturesque acres in a residential community on the Southside of Chicago. The university’s five colleges- Health Sciences, Arts and Science, Business, Education, and Pharmacy – offer 38 undergraduate and 30 graduate degree-granting programs.