Test-Optional FAQs

The ACT and SAT are good challenges, but test scores can’t always predict your success in college. That’s why the admission process at Saint Peter’s University is test-optional. We also understand that as a result of COVID-19, you may be experiencing disruptions in testing options and in your academic schedule. Because of this, we are further expanding students’ test score options.”

Did you know? Over 850 colleges and universities nationally do not use SAT/ACT scores to admit a large number of students to bachelor degree programs.

What is test-optional? Our test-optional admission policy enables undergraduate, first-year applicants to choose to not submit SAT or ACT scores with their application. Students who elect to apply to the University without submitting either a SAT or ACT score report will be evaluated on other factors including: academic achievement, academic rigor, motivation, and potential for success at the collegiate level.

Does this mean students don’t have to take the SAT or ACT?

  • If you choose not to submit ACT or SAT scores, you will be required to submit an additional essay as noted on the application.
  • Students applying for pre-nursing may provide us a copy of ACT/SAT or PLAN/PSAT or opt to be evaluated as a test-optional candidate. Students electing to apply as “test-optional” will be reviewed holistically on academic rigor, achievement, and writing ability.
  • Students applying for a 5-year or pre-professional program are eligible to submit ACT/SAT or PLAN/PSAT or apply as test-optional. Admission to the advanced degree or pre-professional program may require additional information due to the rigor and selectivity of the programs.
  • Students interested in the Honors Program, NCAA Division I athletics, or consideration for a full-tuition scholarship will be required to follow directions on eligibility.

Saint Peter’s does not require submission of standardized test scores as part of the admission decision process but may request students’ scores for other enrollment needs. If a student chooses to enroll at Saint Peter’s and he/she took the SAT/ACT, the University will ask him/her to submit test scores. The scores will only be used for placement testing and to study the success of the test-optional policy. If a student did not take the SAT/ACT tests, he/she will be able to take a placement exam issued by the University when preparing to enroll.

If not evaluating test scores for admission, what will be most important? The best predictor of a student’s success is his/her day-to-day coursework in a rigorous curriculum, which has always been at the heart of our holistic review process. SAT/ACT test-optional students will be evaluated based on the rigor of high school coursework, cumulative grade point average, preparedness for college, evidence for potential success, motivation, commitment to higher education, long-range goals, and successful leadership experience, among other achievements. Test-optional candidates will also be required to submit an additional essay as a replacement to the SAT or ACT test scores.

Are students who choose to exclude their standardized test scores still eligible for merit-based scholarships? Yes. Applicants who choose to withhold SAT/ACT scores will receive full consideration for merit-based scholarships, The Presidential Scholarship (full-tuition) will have an additional review process and will be awarded based on an holistic review. Potential further information/documents from the student may be required.

How should students decide if they should apply test-optional? The test-optional policy invites students to take charge of their own application for admission to Saint Peter’s University. The decision is theirs. If they are satisfied with their test scores and believe they accurately reflect their capabilities, they should feel free to submit them for admission consideration. If applicants have a strong academic record but feel their test scores are not an accurate reflection of their academic performance and capabilities, they can choose to not submit them.

A student has decided to apply test-optional. Now what? Students will have the opportunity to indicate on their application their test-optional status. Those who wish to be test-optional applicants will be required to submit an essay to accompany their official high school transcript and letter of recommendation. The essay prompt is part of the application. The essay should be a minimum of 500 words and demonstrate for the committee the student’s ability to communicate through written word. Students are encouraged to be thoughtful in their essay, as it will serve as an important substitution to test scores.

Note: Absence of required essay will delay review and final admission decision.

What if a student changes his/her mind after submitting an application? Students will need to contact the Saint Peter’s Office of Admission directly.

Still have questions? For more information, contact the Office of Admission at or call: (201) 761-7100. We are here to answer all of your admission questions.