Washington University Announces One-Year Test Optional Policy for Applicants in 2021

As part of our commitment to always put students first, WashU will provide all applicants for the class entering in Fall 2021 the option of whether to submit standardized test scores when they apply. We believe standardized test scores provide us with essential information about an applicant’s preparation for success at WashU. However, given the current context, students who are unable to, or who elect not to, submit SAT or ACT scores, will have the standardized testing requirement waived.  

Rising high school seniors will navigate their college searches in the midst of extraordinary circumstances including ongoing protests that demand action to stop police brutality against Black people, a call to address systemic oppression and racism in our country, and the social and economic impact of the COVID 19 pandemic. We recognize that these issues affect all of us in a myriad of ways, and we want to do our part to ensure all students have the ability to access a WashU education.

What does our test waiver policy mean?  

  • Applicants for Fall 2021 have a choice about whether to submit standardized test scores or use the waiver. 
  • Applicants who have taken the SAT or ACT and feel their scores reflect their abilities should submit them. 
  • Applicants who do not have scores, had limited opportunity to sit for exams more than once, or who do not feel their scores accurately reflect their ability and do not wish to share them, should select the waiver option. 
  • All applicants, whether or not they submit standardized testing, will receive full consideration for admission.

Please Note: We will continue to require evidence of English Language proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test) for international applicants for whom English is a second language. 

Common Questions about the application process for Fall 2021 admission (Class of 2025)

Q: Does this policy apply to international students too?

A: Our one-year standardized testing policy for the Class of 2025 applies to international students as well. Learn more about our existing test-flexible policy for students educated outside the United States. However, we will continue to require evidence of English Language proficiency (through either the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test) for international applicants for whom English is a second language. 

Q: How will you review my application without test scores?

A: We take a holistic approach to the application review process in order to understand each student’s educational aspirations and academic readiness to ensure the student can thrive at WashU. As part of that process we promise to:

  • Review the whole application and the whole person within the context of their unique circumstances. 
  • Understand how a student has embraced opportunities and encountered obstacles. 
  • Be open-minded and approach our work in the spirit of advocacy.

Q: If I don’t submit test scores, are there other things I should send?

A: It is important for us to provide greater flexibility for students to demonstrate academic preparedness in multiple ways.

We invite students to share with us information that they feel best highlights their academic potential. While no specific items are required, examples might include: 

  • A letter of recommendation from a teacher in a discipline related to what the student wants to study (for example, a math teacher for students interested in STEM or Business)
  • Other forms of standardized testing or academic assessments (AP, Subject Tests, state exams)  
  • Making full use of the application questions to highlight key involvements in extracurricular, research, work or family commitments. 

Q: Do I need to submit test scores to be considered for a Signature Scholar Program?

A: No. Test scores will not be required to apply for a Signature Scholar Program.

Q: How can I show interest in Washington University when I’m not able to visit campus or attend an event?

A: There are still ways you can show that you’re interested in WashU:

  • Submit the form to Request Information if you are not already on our mailing list. We will email you about upcoming opportunities to explore Washington University virtually.
  • Register for a virtual visit. We’re offering live information sessions with student panels, guided virtual campus tours led by current students, virtual academic sessions, and virtual interviews throughout the summer.
  • Contact your admissions officer. We can still be reached by phone (800) 638-0700 or email admissions@wustl.edu and are available to answer any questions you have.
  • Connect with us on our social media accounts — Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are all great ways to learn more about our campus and community. And be sure to check out our WashU 360 blog for insider information about life at WashU from our student bloggers.
  • Continue to check our website! We post updates to our schedule on this site as they develop.

Q: I am homeschooled. Do I have to submit testing? 

A: Our testing policy for this year applies to homeschooled students. Applicants for the class entering in Fall 2021 will have the option of whether to submit standardized test scores when they submit their application. Students who are unable to, or who elect not to, submit SAT or ACT scores, will have the standardized testing requirement waived.  

Q: If I am disciplined at school for participating in a protest about an issue that is important to me, will that affect my chance to attend WashU?

A: We encourage civic engagement. If you are disciplined by your high school for engaging in demonstrations, that disciplinary action will not have a negative impact on how your application is reviewed. If you have already been admitted, your acceptance will not be rescinded.