Applying to the best colleges that don’t require SAT can be helpful for many students. Standardized testing can be challenging, and many students may be unable to sit for the tests for various reasons. In this guide, we explore ten of the top-ranked programs that allow students to apply without their SAT scores.
Many of these programs may allow students to apply without providing SAT scores, while others require essays instead of SATs. A few also enable learners to choose to submit high school transcripts instead to gauge their academic performance. Each of the ranked schools on this list meets the following criteria:
- An average annual cost of no more than $35,000
- A median starting salary no lower than $35,000
- Accredited programs by recognized bodies
10 Best Colleges That Don’t Require SAT
1. University of South Dakota
4 Year; Vermillion, SD
Average Annual Cost: $19,389
The University of South Dakota was ranked as one of the best universities in 2022 by U.S. News & World Report. It’s also known as one of the top public schools during the same year. On top of that, it is one of the few good colleges that don’t require SAT rankings. With that said, students can expect to find many learning pathways to achieve their future goals.
With over 200 undergraduate majors and other academic programs, the University of South Dakota is ideal for all learners. Students can also explore over 80 graduate programs, helping refine their skills in specific specialties. Interestingly, the student-to-faculty ratio is phenomenal for such a large school at 15 students per faculty member.
Some of the unique areas of study you’ll find at the University of South Dakota include:
- Art Education
- Forensic Anthropology
- General Studies
- Film Studies
- Native American Studies
Multiple colleges within the University of South Dakota offer unique specialties, including:
- College of Arts & Sciences
- Beacom School of Business
- College of Fine Arts
- School of Health Sciences
- School of Education
Life for students at the University of South Dakota will be filled with plenty of fantastic opportunities. The school hosts over 25 weekly activities and events with over 170 student clubs and organizations. Additionally, they are home to 18 NCAA Division 1 teams for athletic students.
2. Montana State University
4 Year; Bozeman, MT
Average Annual Cost: $19,453
Montana State University is the perfect university for students searching for research opportunities. Their programs are home to some of the most active research facilities, ideal for all types of learners. Currently, the school has over 250 academic choices for students to consider.
When enrolled, students will find a collection of degree programs and certificates. Like many other competitive universities, Montana State University has multiple schools of learning to consider. The departments that students can find their specialties in include:
- College of Nursing
- College of Agriculture
- College of Business
- Colleges of Arts & Architecture
- College of Education, Health & Human Development
- Honors College
- College of Engineering
- College of Letters & Science
Montana State University offers additional programs and departments along with the standard learning pathways. These include:
- Continuing Education
- American Indian Research Opportunities
- Research Computing Group
- Thermal Biology Institute
- Molecular Biosciences Program
- Military Science
- Military Aerospace Studies
Another massive advantage of Montana State University is its campus and student life. If you’re an outdoors enthusiast, you’ll find over 100 area trails accessible from the campus. Additionally, there are over 80 miles of bike trails and bike lanes for students to explore.
3. Hampshire College
4 Year; Amherst, MA
Average Annual Cost: $19,854
Hampshire College is ideal if you’re hunting for a school that adapts to the needs of modern learners. Their unique assortment of programs helps students take charge of their learning, creating personalized academic schedules. Along with renowned faculty members, students will receive top-tier mentorship to assist them in achieving their long-term goals.
The learning model at Hampshire College is unique, offering transdisciplinary studies. Students will explore multiple facets of learning depending on the specialty they choose. Students will graduate as well-rounded professionals with multiple perspectives explored per learning pathway.
At Hampshire College, you’ll find exceptional areas of study. Some examples include:
- Anthropology and Archaeology
- Animal Behavior and Cognition
- Animation and Digital Art
- Cognitive Science
- Global Studies and International Relations
- Film, Video, and Photography
- Queer Studies
Hampshire College is one of the few colleges that puts its students first. You’ll find it’s a highly diverse campus open to both creative and academic students. You’ll find a variety of clubs and sports to join if you’re looking to explore different cultures while making lifelong friends.
Along with on-campus activities, this school is located in one of the lushest areas in the state. You’ll find the local town features museums, historical activities, art, and phenomenal cuisine. Students can explore bike trails, different concert venues, and unique spots like llama farms.
4. Cornell College
4 Year; Mount Vernon, IA
Average Annual Cost: $23,694
Cornell College was initially founded to provide students with many opportunities to explore their future careers. The primary objective of all their programs is to ensure graduates have competitive skills to impact their field of study. You’ll find an assortment of minors and majors to choose from when enrolled.
In addition to standard majors and minors, students can also consider pre-professional programs. These learning pathways are essential for spending less time in school to begin your career. They can also be an important stepping stone to applying to a graduate school of your choice.
Another interesting aspect of the programs available at Cornell College is their cooperative programs. Working alongside partnership institutions, students can study for three years at Cornell and move on to alternative institutions. You can focus on your specialty at these other schools while finishing your degree.
Some of the most interesting program offerings from Cornell College include:
- Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- International Relations
- German Studies
- Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
- Medieval & Early Modern Studies
- Civic Engagement
When enrolled at Cornell College, you’ll never run out of different activities. Students will find multiple sports and service projects, guest lectures, organizations, and clubs. You’ll also love how active the school is in art organizations, focusing on dance, music, and theater.
5. Colorado College
4 Year; Colorado Springs, CO
Average Annual Cost: $24,703
Colorado College has a unique curriculum designed to adapt to the needs of its entire student body. The Block Plan structure helps provide students with a diverse foundation to discover the world through their specialty. You’ll gather plenty of theoretical and hands-on instruction, helping you explore all facets of your study area.
Another massive component of this school’s curriculum is student-led learning. You’ll experience the independence needed to take hold of your education. With that said, they also offer plenty of guidance to students that require assistance choosing their programs and fine-tuning their education.
Colorado College is home to over 80 majors, minors, and specializations for students. If you’re interested in a multidisciplinary approach to learning, you can consider a thematic minor. It’s one of the more well-rounded program options for students interested in various specializations.
Some of the most popular majors you’ll find at Colorado College include:
- Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Business, Economics, and Society
Campus life at Colorado College is what you would expect from other high-end colleges and universities. You’ll find a collection of activities in and out of the classroom, allowing you to network and make friends with your peers. There is also a wide array of clubs and organizations to consider if you want to explore different interests and cultures.
A few of the most remarkable facilities students can consider while at Colorado College include:
- Wellness Resource Center
- Honnen Ice Arena
- Outdoor Education
- Career Center
6. St. John’s University
4 Year; Queens, NY
Average Annual Cost: $27,210
St. John’s University is one of the most prestigious schools in New York that don’t require SAT scores for application. They offer a significant number of learning opportunities spanning diverse areas of specialization. Students can enroll in numerous programs from multiple colleges, including:
- The School of Education
- St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
- The Peter J. Tobin College of Business
- The Collins College of Professional Studies
- School of Law
There is an impressive number of degrees students can work towards, whether you need an undergraduate or graduate program. Along with studying on campus, students can also explore numerous opportunities worldwide.
St. John’s University partners with different institutions, allowing students to study and volunteer abroad. You’ll find a collection of global campuses and international non-degree programs to explore, such as:
St. John’s University currently offers two campuses in New York on Staten Island and Queens. Both campuses offer diverse opportunities to explore a unique side of the city while building friendships with your peers. Students can sign up for a wide assortment of in-person and virtual activities.
In addition to clubs and organizations, students can attend on-campus events for the entire school. A few examples of traditional events at St. John’s University include:
- Winter Carnival
- Fall Fest
- DAC After Dark
- Live Love Learn
- Experience New York
7. Pitzer College
4 Year; Claremont, CA
Average Annual Cost: $29,195
Pitzer College allows prospective students to earn an education they’ve always dreamed of. The school’s diverse programs provide many online, on-campus, and international learning opportunities. Students can explore several majors and minors as well as international programs.
Along with the standard degrees at Pitzer College, special degree programs are ideal for delving further into a specialty. These special degree programs offer deeper learning beyond regular course offerings. You’ll find that they’re highly beneficial for independent study while offering top-tier internships for work-ready students.
The complete list of programs available from Pitzer College is far too long to include in this guide. However, you can guarantee they have a wide assortment of areas students can consider. A few examples of popular programs include:
- Religious Studies
- Science Management
- Media Studies
- Gender and Feminist Studies
- American Studies
- Organismal Biology
Students must have access to essential services while studying at any university or college. Pitzer College offers many fantastic tools for students to use to their advantage, including mental health and wellness support. A couple of other examples include:
- New student orientation
- Transgender student support
- Intercollegiate student services
- Disability support services
8. Smith College
4 Year; Northampton, MA
Average Annual Cost: $29,615
Smith College offers a unique curriculum that blends intellectually rigorous learning with hands-on experience. Students will learn how to challenge preconceived notions to develop critical thinking skills. Additionally, the school offers several intuitively designed labs and facilities, ideal for all programs.
At Smith College, you’ll find an assortment of majors, minors, and concentrations. The school also has special programs helping to further your learning. A few examples of the special programs include:
- Global Faculty-Led Experiences (FLEX)
- Five College Majors & Certificate Programs
- Accelerated Master’s Programs
Concentrations are ideal if you’re looking for a learning pathway slightly different from traditional degree options. Students can learn about museums, journalism, book studies, poetry, community engagement, and more. It’s a more non-traditional approach to learning to help you diversify your understanding of specialties.
Alternatively, students at Smith College can take a traditional approach to learning. Their comprehensive list of majors and minors covers all bases, including:
- African Studies
- French Studies
- Engineering Science
- World Literature
Smith College is home to one of the most diverse student bodies in the state. The school offers plenty of student services and activities to enhance personal achievements. Students can participate in multiple events, from choreographing a dance to participating in sports.
9. Connecticut College
4 Year; New London, CT
Average Annual Cost: $30,977
Students looking for a modernized four-year approach to earning a degree of their choosing will love Connecticut College. This school takes pride in developing the most well-rounded graduates while supporting them to find their dream careers. Engaging coursework paired with hands-on curriculums is a phenomenal option for post-secondary schooling.
Connecticut College is also one of the smaller schools on this list, with a nine-to-one student-to-faculty ratio. It’s the ideal school size for learners interested in a better one-on-one teaching experience. Also, class sizes are typically around 18 students, helping to make it easier to network with peers and make friends.
Another remarkable feature of Connecticut College is the quality of its faculty. The vast majority of faculty members (93%) hold a doctorate or equivalent degree. Students can guarantee they’re studying under the mentorship of specialists in their area of study.
There are 71 areas of study students can consider at this school. Some of the most popular majors include:
- Applied Statistics
- Public Health
- Educational Studies
- Environmental Engineering Studies
- Hispanic Studies
10. Ithaca College
4 Year; Ithaca, NY
Average Annual Cost: $34,554
Ithaca College has an impressive number of programs for students to consider. Not to mention the school also accepts students without requiring SAT scores. Currently, you’ll find over 70 minors and 90 majors to help you explore hundreds of areas of interest.
Students will have access to a transformative learning experience, seamlessly blending in-class and real-world learning opportunities. Along with choosing your specialty from the start, students can consider an undecided major. In this major, you can work alongside mentors to determine which range of classes suits your needs.
Ithaca College is home to five broad areas of interest. You can find fantastic specialties within these categories to help you enter your dream career. The areas of interest include:
- Humanities and Sciences
- Health Sciences and Human Performance
Ithaca College is in one of the most stunning locations in New York State. It’s also known as one of the more prestigious college towns in the state. You’ll find an amazing music scene, ice cream shops, and over 150 waterfalls for outdoor exploration.