Test Optional FAQ

The University System of Georgia (USG) has approved the temporary adjustment of admission requirements for USG institutions due to uncertainty about the availability of SAT/ACT testing during the COVID-19 pandemic. USG made the decision after monitoring testing availability during the spring and summer, when multiple test date cancellations have prevented thousands of students from having access to a testing opportunity.

As a member institution of USG, the University of Georgia will temporarily suspend the SAT/ACT requirement for the 2020-2021 First-Year Application Cycle and will be test optional, allowing students the flexibility to decide whether or not they want to submit a test score as a component of their application. For further information on what test optional means and the impact it will have on our admissions and review process, we have pulled together a series of frequently-asked-questions below.

Why did the University of Georgia make the decision to make standardized test scores optional?

Due to the effects of COVID-19, we recognize that there have been limited time and opportunities for applicants to take the ACT or SAT. At UGA, we have always practiced a whole student approach when reviewing first-year applications and this is a practice we emphasize now more than ever. In our review process, we take into consideration a myriad of factors that represent the student with the ACT/SAT just being one factor. Going test optional for Summer & Fall 2021 allows us further evaluate students who may not have had adequate access or time to prepare for the standardized testing process.

If I select not to submit scores from the SAT or ACT, how will my application be reviewed? 

If a student decides not to submit an ACT or SAT score, we will place more emphasis on the rest of the applicant’s academic and extracurricular record. Academic criteria that will be reviewed include the student’s grades in core academic courses, the rigor of a student’s course selection as compared to what is offered in the school/community. From an extracurricular standpoint, we will be looking at a student’s intellectual and creative pursuits, an understanding and respect for others, their significant commitment to citizenship through public service, school activities, community involvement, leadership, and family, their ability to communicate through the short essays and other writing sections, evidence of integrity and personal maturity, recommendations from counselors and teachers, and any other information in the file. In other words, we look at everything in the file.

How will I select to be considered for admission without test scores?

Our first-year application will ask whether the student wants to be considered for admission without standardized tests. Any student answering that question “yes” will be reviewed without test scores.

Once I have indicated on the application whether I wish to be considered with or without test scores, am I able to change my mind?

Our application status page will have a form that allows you to change your decision about being test optional, but we suggest you think carefully prior to making the initial decision so that our file review process can go smoothly.

How should I decide if I want to submit test scores as part of my application?

Ultimately, it will be the student’s decision to apply with or without test scores. If the student is comfortable with their test scores, then they should submit them. However, no student will be penalized if they opt out of submitting test scores.

If a student applies without test scores, will they be eligible for any merit-based scholarships and Honors?

All admitted freshmen applicants are considered for merit-based scholarships, and we will consider students whether or not they submit test scores with no penalty for not submitting a test score. As well, the Honors Program will be test optional for the Fall 2021 class in their review process.

Will the test optional policy be continued for future admissions cycles?

We will evaluate the test optional policy after a review of both how the test optional year has gone and after a study concerning the situation involving test site availability.

Will International Students still need to submit SAT/ACT scores?

If International Students do not submit an SAT or ACT score, and if their education is not taught in English, then they will need to provide some form of English proficiency, either through TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo English Test exam results.

How does the test optional policy affect Home Educated Students?

We will not require an SAT or ACT score for Home Educated students, but we suggest that you review the Home Educated web page for details on what other information we will need to fully review your application for admission.

How does UGA going test optional affect the Zell Miller Scholarship? Will test scores still be required for eligibility?

The Zell Miller Scholarship is administered and awarded by the Georgia Student Finance Commission, a separate entity from the University of Georgia, therefore any changes to the test score requirements for Zell Miller eligibility will have to be mandated by them. For the latest information regarding the Zell Miller Scholarship, please visit the GSFC website.