Test Optional Frequently Asked Questions

College of Charleston is test optional.
This means students will have the opportunity to decide whether they would like us to include their SAT and/or ACT exam score(s) in the evaluation of their application. 
When students are deciding whether to submit their test scores, they should consider their full academic performance while in high school.
If a student has a particularly strong academic record but does not consider their standardized exam scores to positively reflect their full academic potential, that student may choose to not have their SAT and/or ACT exam score(s) included in the evaluation of their application.
If a student feels their SAT and/or ACT exam score(s) positively reflects their overall academic achievement, we invite them to have their exam scores included in the evaluation of their application. 
We encourage students to use the latest middle 50% ranges of admitted students as a frame of reference. These ranges will give students some insight into how scores could impact decisions. We also encourage students to discuss the decision with their school counselor.
Review the information below to learn more and decide on the best path for you.

How will the College evaluate my application without test scores?

In the absence of test scores, the Office of Admissions will still review applications in a holistic manner, emphasizing your grades and the rigor of your high school coursework, your activities and engagement outside the classroom and essay(s).

Will I be at a disadvantage if I decide not to submit standardized test scores?

No. There is no negative impact on your application. Our holistic admissions review ensures no student is harmed in admission selection if they do not submit a test score.

How does a student indicate if they would like their scores considered or not?

When students apply for admission, the application will ask if they want the College to use their test scores as part of the evaluation process.

Is standardized testing required for certain applicants?


Some students will have to submit test scores. If a student applies test-optional but is in a category that requires a test score, the student will be contacted.

International students must submit exam scores that demonstrate English proficiency, but not necessarily an SAT and/or ACT. Information on testing options for international students.

Are test scores required to be considered for and/or awarded scholarships?

Yes and No.

  • Students who choose not to submit test scores with their admission application will still be fully considered for College of Charleston general merit scholarships and departmental/specialty scholarship opportunities without restriction.
  • The state of South Carolina may requires an official SAT or ACT exam score to qualify for the Palmetto Fellows scholarship. For the LIFE scholarship, you may need a score if you do not already qualify with your GPA and rank combination.
    • NOTE: Applicants who need to submit test scores to the College to be evaluated for state scholarships can still choose to apply to the College for admission consideration without submitting scores. If a student chooses to not have scores considered for admission, but must submit scores for scholarship consideration, the test scores will not be available to the admissions committee during a student’s application review, but those scores will be available for the Office of Financial Aid to award state scholarships.

Are tests required for admission to the Honors College?

No. When making decisions on applications to the Honors College, the committee has always used a holistic review process in which they value academic excellence in the classroom, leadership and community engagement, and strong writing abilities over a test score. Therefore, applicants to the Honors College will not have to submit test scores in order to be considered for admission.

For more information, go to the Honors College website or email honors@cofc.edu.

Can I change my mind about submitting my scores?

You should determine whether you want to have your SAT and/or ACT exam score(s) considered before you submit your application. Once you submit your application, your application portal will display the required documents.

Once you’ve submitted your application, if you want to change your selection, you can use one of the three options below to change your application type:
  • If your application checklist within your portal is complete (all materials have already been submitted) please reach out to request the change.
  • If your application checklist is not yet complete (at least one item shows a red X) you’ll see an update form within your portal to change your application to Test Score Optional.
  • If your application checklist is not yet complete (at least one item shows a red X) and doesn’t currently show a requirement for standardized test scores, but you’ve chosen to add scores to your application, please reach out to request the change.
You may make changes until the application deadline (Early Decision, Early Action or Regular Decision). Requests made more than two weeks after the application deadline cannot be honored, as our admissions committee will be reviewing applications.

How will prior tests that have already been submitted to the College be considered if I now choose to apply without sending my scores?

Students who have already submitted SAT and/or ACT exam score(s) to the College can choose whether we should consider those scores when filling out the application for admission. If a student chooses to not have scores considered, any previously submitted scores will not be available to the admissions committee during a student’s application review.