As college admissions landscapes evolve, one major trend is the reinstatement of standardized testing requirements by universities across the United States. This shift has left many prospective students wondering how it will impact their application process. In this blog post, I will explain which schools are reintroducing standardized tests, those to keep an eye on, as well as what to do if your dream school has reinstated this requirement. While the transition back to standardized testing may have come quickly, there is still plenty of time to get prepared before application season this fall.

Schools Reinstating Standardized Tests This Fall

After a period of test-optional policies due to the pandemic, several colleges and universities are reverting to requiring standardized test scores for admission. This change signals a return to pre-pandemic admissions norms for many institutions, yet the timelines on which universities are implementing these changes has come as a surprise for many students. 

Among the notable institutions reinstating standardized testing for the upcoming application cycle (Fall 2025 Entry) are the following universities:

CollegesType
BrownPrivate
CalTechPrivate
DartmouthPrivate
HarvardPrivate
YalePrivate
University of Texas at AustinPublic

These universities join other elite universities that have either continued with testing-requirements or already reinstated required tests. While fewer public colleges are following this trend currently, our experts suggest that more public universities will reinstate standardized tests over the coming years. 

Schools Expected to Reinstate Testing

While not all colleges have announced their plans for future admissions cycles, several prestigious institutions have already announced a return to or are likely to reinstate standardized testing requirements over the next few admissions cycles. Prospective students should therefore keep an eye on the following schools:

CollegesExpected/Announced Dates*
CornellAnnounced: Fall 2026
StanfordExpected: Fall 2026
UNCExpected: Fall 2026
AuburnExpected: Fall 2026
UVAExpected: Fall 2026
VanderbiltExpected: Fall 2028
University of Wisconsin-MadisonAnnounced: Fall 2028
* Note: Fall 2026 means Entry Fall 2026, referring to applicants during the Fall 2025-Spring 2026.

What Tests Are Accepted?

Schools that have reintroduced testing requirements typically accept scores from standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. However, some institutions may also accept alternative tests such as SAT Subject Tests, AP exams, or the Classic Learning Test (CLT). It’s essential for applicants to verify which tests their desired schools will consider, but the majority of schools will continue to accept the SAT/ACT predominantly. 

Why Are Schools Reinstating Standardized Tests?

While the decision to reinstate standardized tests varies among institutions, several factors contribute to this trend. One significant reason is the need for a reliable metric to assess academic preparedness consistently. Standardized tests like the SAT and ACT offer a standardized measure that can complement other aspects of applicants’ profiles. Moreover, these tests provide admissions committees with a quantifiable data point that aids in evaluating a large pool of applicants objectively. By reinstating these tests, they aim to ensure that admitted students possess the requisite academic skills and aptitude to succeed in their programs. Additionally, some universities have stated that standardized tests are beneficial for promoting diversity among admitted applicants, with many universities noting that standardized tests serve as valuable tools for determining potentially successful applicants from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, rural areas, and underserved schools and communities. Ultimately, the reintroduction of standardized tests aligns with universities’ efforts to make informed admissions decisions while upholding principles of fairness and academic integrity.

What to Do If Your Dream School Has Reinstated A Testing Requirement?

If your dream school has reinstated standardized testing requirements, there are several steps you can take.

  1. Prepare For The Tests
    Dedicate time to study and prepare thoroughly for the standardized tests required by your target institutions. Make a summer tutoring schedule, get tutoring support from expert tutors, and start studying today.
  2. Take Advantage Of Test Prep Resources
    Utilize online resources, practice exams, and tutoring services to maximize your test scores. SoFlo Tutors offers a free Math Tutoring course as well as information on the most challenging question types. Khan Academy also offers a comprehensive library of studying resources. 
  3. Understand Score Policies
    Research the average SAT score accepted by your safety and reach schools. Familiarize yourself with each school’s score policies, including score choice options and superscoring practices. If you can superscore, break up your studying focus into two different phases to maximize your scoring potential. 
  4. Consider Test-Optional Alternatives
    Explore colleges and universities that maintain test-optional policies if standardized testing presents a barrier to your application. For example, schools in the University of California system are test-blind and have not changed their stances on testing requirements. 

As colleges and universities reinstate standardized testing requirements, prospective students should adapt their application strategies accordingly. By staying informed about which schools require tests, preparing diligently, and exploring alternative options, applicants can navigate this evolving landscape with confidence. Remember, while standardized tests may be a component of the admissions process, they do not define your potential for success in higher education.

Get The Support You Need With SoFlo Tutors

Looking to prepare for your SAT/ACT this summer? No matter your timeline, our expert tutors are ready and available to help you prepare for your SAT/ACT. All of our tutors attend top universities around the nation and scored in the 99th percentile on their SAT. With students averaging score increases of 150 points after only 10 hours of tutoring, our tutors have a proven track-record and can help you meet your target score. They will work with you to identify and improve your weak areas, as well as help you continue to build off of your strengths. Our tutors schedule sessions to your availability and costs start at $75/hour. 

About The Author

Carolyn Handley is an expert SoFlo tutor and graduated from the University of Texas with a B.S. in Communication Disorders and Texas A&M with an M.Ed. in Bilingual Education. She scored a 36 on her ACT and enjoys hiking and reading.

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