2020-2021 Test Optional Process

As an institution that values equity, we recognize the unique complexities of this application cycle. Due to testing disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Baylor University will be test optional for 2020-2021. We understand that students this year may make their decision about how to apply based on a lack of access to testing rather than personal preferences regarding testing.

Baylor is a rigorous learning and research environment. Because we holistically review students, we have no minimum GPA or SAT/ACT requirements for admission. However, admission to Baylor is competitive, and admitted students are typically strong academic students.

The score range for the middle fifty percent of entering first-year students in 2019 was:

  • 1210 – 1370 with a mean score of 1293 for the SAT
  • 26 – 32 with a mean score of 28.8 for the ACT

Additionally, among students with high school class ranking, 44 percent were in the top ten percent of their high school graduating classes.


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. 

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 for the fall 2019 semester.  We will require a minimum of 5 semesters of grades 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 resume, 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.  


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 Classical 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:

“I opt in to having my test scores reviewed for admission.” OR “I opt out.”

The decision to apply with or without test scores should be carefully thought through and is considered final. However, given the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Baylor will make every effort to be as flexible with applicants as possible. 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.

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. 

The latest exam sitting for students applying by Baylor’s November 2 deadline (either under the Early Action or Early Decision 1 plan) is the November 7 SAT and the October 24 ACT.

The latest exam sitting for students applying by Baylor’s February 1 deadline (either under the Regular Decision or Early Decision 2 plan) is the December 5 SAT or December 12 ACT.


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. If a student feels that their academic scholarship is not representative of their academic strengths and abilities, they can request a re-review, beginning in January 2021. Students who complete the scholarship re-review request form are required to upload an updated transcript documenting grades received during the fall of their senior year. 

Students may also upload additional information that they feel is relevant to their appeal, including test score information. Please note: there is no guarantee that appeals will result in additional academic scholarship funds. Additionally, the highest scholarship offered is the President’s at $23,000 per academic year.