What Colleges Require SAT Subject Tests?

What Colleges Require SAT Subject Tests?

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SAT subject tests are not required at the majority of colleges and universities in the United States. However, many of the country's best colleges do require two or more SAT subject tests. Many other colleges recommend SAT Subject Tests.

Key Takeaways: SAT Subject Tests

  • If you're applying to top tier colleges, you would be wise to take at least two SAT Subject Tests.
  • Even if SAT Subject Tests aren't required, strong scores can strengthen your application.
  • SAT Subject Tests can be particularly important for home schooled students to demonstrate college readiness.

The list below presents dozens of colleges that require the SAT subject test, as well as several schools that used to require subject test scores but now simply recommend the subject tests. There are, of course, many other schools that recommend the SAT subject tests, and strong scores can often strengthen an application. This can be particularly true for home schooled students who don't have class rank or a traditional academic transcript to demonstrate college readiness.

On the College Board website, you'll find a long list of all the colleges that will consider SAT Subject Tests as part of the admissions process. Most college applicants probably don't actually need to take SAT Subject Tests, but as the lists shows, they can play a meaningful role in the application process if you do well on the exams. You'll also find that some colleges have test-flexible admissions policies, and they are happy to consider AP, IB, and SAT Subject Tests instead of the regular SAT and ACT exams.

Be sure to get more information from a college's website. In some cases the ACT with Writing can substitute for the SAT Subject tests, and colleges change their admissions criteria all the time. You may also find that colleges have very different testing requirements for home-schooled students than other applicants.

All the schools below require or strongly recommend SAT Subject Tests for at least some of their applicants. Click on the school's name to get a description, admissions data, costs and financial aid information.

Colleges that Require or Strongly Recommend SAT Subject Tests:

  • Boston University (some programs)
  • Brown University
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • Carnegie Mellon University (requirements vary by school)
  • Cooper Union (some programs)
  • Cornell University (some programs)
  • Dartmouth College (recommended, not required)
  • Duke University (strongly recommended)
  • George Washington University (required of some dual degree programs only)
  • Harvard University (strongly recommended)
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Notre Dame (Indiana) (home schooled applicants must take 3 SAT II or AP exams)
  • New York University (NYU) (but SAT, ACT, IB or AP exams can substitute for SAT Subject Tests)
  • Princeton University (strongly recommended)
  • Rice University (not required if submitting the ACT)
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) (only for accelerated programs in law or medicine)
  • Stevens Institute of Technology (some programs)
  • Swarthmore College (encouraged for engineering applicants)
  • Tufts University (most programs)
  • University of California -- The state system has changed its policy to read, "While SAT Subject Tests are not required, some campuses recommend that students vying for slots in competitive majors take the tests to demonstrate subject proficiency." You can get more information here.
  • University of Pennsylvania (recommended)
  • Vassar College (scores will be considered, but are not required)
  • Washington and Lee University (recommended for home-schooled applicants)
  • Webb Institute
  • Wellesley College
  • Wesleyan University (school is test-optional, but scores are required and used for placement)
  • Yale University (recommended)

The list of colleges and universities requiring the SAT subject tests is constantly changing, so be sure to check with the schools to which you are applying.

For more SAT Subject Test information, check out these articles on specific exams: Biology | Chemistry | Literature | Math | Physics

One drawback to taking SAT Subject Tests is the cost. Students who take the regular SAT a couple times, several SAT Subject Tests, and then have scores sent to a dozen or so colleges can end up paying several hundred dollars to the College Board. Learn more here: SAT Costs, Fees, and Waivers.

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