Test Optional Process

Baylor is a rigorous learning and research environment. Admission to Baylor is competitive, and admitted students are typically strong academic students. That said, test scores and GPAs are only part of your story. That's why we also holistically review students, including the recommended items you share with us, and have no minimum GPA or SAT/ACT requirements for admission.

Overall, we are looking for students who can gain the most from a Baylor experience with a demonstrated interest in becoming a Baylor Bear and who are a fit spiritually, academically and financially. For some students, that might be best reflected with a test score, and for others, a test score does not fully reflect their potential.

The test optional policy is relatively new to Baylor, and we continue to review and evaluate it for future classes. Therefore, the policy is subject to change as we work to best serve our potential students.

How do I decide whether to submit test scores or apply test optional?

Reasons why a student may choose to submit test scores: 

  • Your transcript shows your academic record in the context of your high school, but since one school can be very different from another, it’s useful to see evidence of academic achievement that exists outside of the context of your school. For many applicants, an SAT or ACT score can reflect their academic preparedness in a broader context. 
  • Certain classes at Baylor have specific entrance requirements, including either documented ACT or SAT scores or qualifying entrance exam scores. You may decide to take the ACT or SAT now to potentially reduce the need for placement exams later in the enrollment process. Learn more about class placement requirements below. 
  • For reference, the score range for the middle fifty percent of entering first-year students in 2020 was:
    • 1200 – 1350 with a mean score of 1278 for the SAT
    • 26 – 31 with a mean score of 28.6 for the ACT
    • Additionally, among students with high school class ranking, 50 percent were in the top ten percent of their high school graduating classes.

Reasons why a student may apply test optional: 

  • Some students may feel that an SAT or ACT score does not fully reflect their academic preparedness or potential. If this is the case for you, you may wish to apply test optional. If you apply test optional, your high school transcript will be the primary basis of demonstrating your academic achievement. Students who had only pass/fail or similar grading options during the spring 2020 term will not be penalized; however, please ensure that your high school transcript includes grades from other semesters, including the latest semesters. If your high school is able to provide your Fall 2019 term grades, please make sure they are included in your transcript. If those grades are not included, it might hold up processing your file for review. 

Regardless of testing plan:

  • All applicants are considered for academic scholarships when they apply, regardless of testing plan. Learn more about scholarships and aid at Baylor.
  • We encourage all students, regardless of testing plan, to submit the recommended items: a résumé, 2 letters of recommendation and short answer response.
  • Please keep in mind that some majors and academic programs have specific academic entrance requirements. Learn more about major requirements.

Additionally, students who apply test optional and are accepted without test scores may still elect to register for the ACT or SAT for a variety of reasons. In particular, students may want to sit for an exam in preparation for registering for their first semester of classes at Baylor. Students may also submit test scores after an admissions offer has been made in order to be placed into the courses mentioned above. 

Some students are required to submit test scores and are not eligible to opt out.

If you are part of one of the following groups, you are still required to submit test scores:

  • Applicants who are homeschooled: You may submit test scores from either the Classic Learning Test (CLT), SAT or ACT exam.
  • Applicants who attend a high school that provides only narrative evaluations rather than a grading scale: You must submit SAT or ACT test scores.
  • Applicants who are graduating high school early: You must submit SAT or ACT test scores.

If you have any questions regarding these requirements, please contact your Admissions Counselor for help.

How do I indicate I would like to be test optional?

Students can choose to apply to Baylor with 3 different application methods.

When you apply, you will be required to choose the following when responding to the “Preferred testing plan” question:

“Yes, I want my test scores reviewed.” OR “No, I don’t want my test scores reviewed.”

The decision to apply with or without test scores should be carefully thought through and is considered final. If you need to make a change to your testing plan preference after you submit your application due to a testing cancelation or another reason, please contact your Admissions Counselor for more information. Note: Students may request a change ONE time only, and it must be made prior to receiving an admissions decision.

Many students might already have test scores on record at Baylor from exams that were taken during their sophomore or junior year of high school. If an applicant has previously submitted test scores to Baylor but indicates on their application that they would like to be test optional, those test scores will not be considered as part of the application review.

Please note: As part of the enrollment process at Baylor, test-optional students will be asked to submit any standardized exam scores to the Admissions Office by May 1.  Submitting exam scores will not adversely affect any admissions or scholarship decision, rather they will be collected to use for research and reporting purposes.

If you are submitting test scores, plan ahead.

If you haven’t taken a standardized exam and are wondering how you might score, you can access free practice test questions online at collegeboard.org or act.org.

If you plan to submit test scores with your Baylor application, please note that we superscore the SAT and ACT, meaning we will combine your highest section scores from all test dates and review your best total score.

You can find the national SAT and ACT exam schedule on their respective websites. 

To view the latest exam sitting for your preferred admission plan, please visit our key documents chart

What about academic scholarships? 

All applicants are considered for academic scholarships when they apply, including students who apply as test optional. Learn more about scholarships and aid at Baylor.

Academic scholarships are based on a review of the student’s high school academic record and completed application file. Test scores are not a part of the academic scholarship review process.