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Test Optional

Choosing Test-Optional at SCU

Santa Clara University is in the second year of a two-year “test-optional” policy for first-year and transfer students. Scores on the SAT or ACT are not required for students applying to Santa Clara University for the Winter 2022 or Fall 2022 terms. As a test-optional university, students still have the option to submit any standardized test score results they’ve received. A student who chooses not to submit standardized test scores will be at no disadvantage in our admission or merit scholarship review processes.

For the 2021 application cycle:

  • 47% of SCU applicants chose not to submit a test
  • 50% of admitted students chose not to submit a test

Where does an applicant select having ACT/SAT scores reviewed or not?

On the Common Application Supplement Questions for SCU, the following question will be required of all first-year applicants: Do you want your test scores considered?

Are other test scores like SAT II Subject Tests, AP exam scores, IB exam scores, A-levels exam scores, etc. required in the admission review process?

Santa Clara does not require submission of these scores for admission application evaluation. If students would like to report scores, they have the option to share scores through their Common Application.

How do we evaluate applications?

At Santa Clara University, we review applications holistically, meaning that we will review your application individually, taking into account your academic credentials as well as your personal qualities. Important required pieces of your application include your transcript, course rigor, unweighted GPA, extracurricular activities, Common App essay, supplemental questions, and demonstrated interest. Test scores are treated as optional information, similar to a resume or an additional letter of recommendation.

What if I’m applying for Fall 2023 or later?

Several offices at Santa Clara University are still reviewing the test-optional policy for future years. A decision will be announced by early 2022.

Can an applicant who is deferred or waitlisted change their testing choice?

An applicant with a deferred or Wait List decision will have the opportunity to submit supplemental information, including test scores, an updated transcript, letter of interest, or additional letters of recommendations. It will not be required or expected to submit test scores.

What should I know as an international student?

You still have the test-optional choice. All international applicants are required to demonstrate a minimum level of English language. You can view our Undergraduate English Proficiency website to see the several ways to demonstrate English proficiency in the application for admission, which include proficiency exams like IELTS, TOEFL, Duolingo or standardized tests like SAT or ACT.

Does Santa Clara Superscore?

Yes. Students who choose to submit their test scores have the option to submit multiple scores. SCU is interested in your best achievement, so sending us multiple tests, if available, allows us to see subsections regardless of test date or test type (ACT/SAT).

How does this affect merit scholarships and institutional financial aid awards?

It doesn’t! All students are reviewed for merit scholarships, whether they applied with or without a test score. About the top 15% of our applicants receive merit scholarships on the basis of a holistic review process. A student who chooses not to submit standardized test scores will be at no disadvantage in our merit scholarship review processes. It’s up to you.

Testing Deadlines

Students who choose to have their scores considered must take the exam by the appropriate application deadline:

  Early Action & Early Decision I Regular Decision & Early Decision II
Common Application & Supplement Deadline November 1 January 7
Last Accepted SAT Test Date October December
Last Accepted ACT Test Date September* December

 *We cannot ensure October ACT test results will reach our office in time for Early Action and Early Decision I review.

Reporting Test Scores

We accept the following options to complete the test scores requirement by the application deadline:

  • Self-report your scores in the Self-Reported Test Score form in the Application Status Portal
  • Send your official test scores from the testing agency

If you receive updated test results after submitting the Self-Reported Test Scores form, you can self-report these newer scores by filling out the form again.

Enrolling at SCU

If you are offered admission to Santa Clara University and choose to enroll, official test scores that match your self-reported scores will need to be received by your deposit deadline. In order for test scores to be considered official, they must be sent directly from College Board or ACT. Santa Clara University reserves the right to revoke admission if an applicant’s self-reported scores do not match their official score report.

For enrolling students who did not select to have test scores considered in the admission review process, SCU will ask for official scores after matriculation if scores are available. The scores will be used for assessment of the test optional program.