Test-Optional Policy

The George Washington University has been proudly test-optional since 2015 (for the majority of applicants). This policy aligns with our admissions philosophy of holistic review, supports the university strategic plan on access, reflects the most current data analysis regarding the use of testing in admission and is clear and easy to communicate and understand. The best indication of whether a student will be successful at GW is their performance in high school—the grades they earn and the rigor of their coursework. This has always been the most important part of the application process at GW and this will not change, regardless of whether you choose to submit scores.

Students Required to Submit Test Scores

Anyone applying to enroll at GW in 2021 may choose to apply as a test-optional candidate.

For future admission cycles, GW anticipates reverting to our pre-pandemic policy and requiring SAT/ACT scores from the following groups:

  • Applicants to the accelerated seven-year B.A./M.D. program

  • Applicants who are homeschooled

  • Applicants who attended secondary schools that provide only narrative evaluations rather than some form of grading scale

  • Recruited NCAA Division I athletes

Choosing Whether or Not to Submit Test Scores for Consideration

SAT/ACT scores are an optional credential. As an applicant, you can decide if you want to submit your scores to GW as part of your application. If you feel your SAT or ACT scores are an accurate reflection of your academic abilities, you are welcome to submit them for consideration. There is no preference for SAT or ACT scores.

If you choose not to submit test scores, you will not be viewed negatively. Test scores are not required for consideration in special programs, such as the University Honors Program or Women’s Leadership Program, or for merit scholarships.

If you choose to submit your test scores, the Admissions Committee will consider scores in a manner that is consistent with other documents that are often submitted, such as resumes and supplemental letters of recommendation from individuals other than a teacher or counselor.

GW will accept scores from both the old version of the SAT (test administered prior to March 2016) and the redesigned SAT (offered beginning March 2016). If a student chooses to submit redesigned SAT scores, GW will consider the reading and math sections only; GW does not evaluate the writing section of the redesigned SAT or the writing section of the ACT in the admissions process.  

If you submit scores from both versions of the SAT, the scores cannot be combined into a “superscore.”

Notifying the Admissions Committee

You will need to indicate whether or not you will submit your scores on the member screen of your Common Application. If you are planning to submit your scores, you must request they be sent directly from the College Board or ACT well in advance of the application deadline. Once you make a choice on your application, it cannot be changed.

Scores on Your Transcript

If you indicate that you will not submit your scores, they will not be considered in the admission process even if they are included on your official high school transcript.

Score Consideration

GW will superscore both the SAT and the ACT, which means that the Admissions Committee will consider only the highest critical reading, math and writing scores you’ve submitted, regardless of test administration. We will not recalculate a new composite score from subsection scores on various dates.

International Student Requirements

If you’re an international applicant (non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. permanent residents), you are not required to submit SAT/ACT scores for admission unless you are also part of one of the groups required to still submit test scores. (No applicant is required to submit scores for a 2021 enrollment term.)

You are still required to submit either the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE if English is not your first language, as indicated on the Common Application. This requirement may be waived if you submit an SAT critical reasoning score of 650 or higher, evidence-based reading and writing of 650 or higher or an ACT English score of 29 or higher.

If you spent your most recent four years in a school setting where English is the sole language of instruction in all academic subjects (excluding foreign language and ESL/ELL courses), you are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE requirement.

Previously Submitted Scores

If you submit test scores to GW prior to applying but apply as a test-optional candidate (e.g., you take the SAT or ACT in 11th grade and send scores to GW but decide in your senior year to apply as test optional), your scores will not be considered as part of your application.

Matriculating Student Requirements

GW will not require any matriculating student who did not take the SAT or ACT to take the test before enrolling. However, GW will continue to analyze the correlation between standardized testing and academic success. Therefore, all entering students who have scores will be asked to submit them prior to enrolling to GW for their first year.

GW’s Decision to Remove the SAT/ACT Requirement

GW’s decision to adopt a test-optional policy was made in response to recommendations from the Access Committee of the university’s Task Force on Access and Success. Members of the task force examined the value of test scores in understanding how a student performs at GW. They reached the same conclusion as many other institutions: the best predictor of academic success in college is a student’s high school record, especially their high school GPA. This conversation led GW to adopt a test-optional policy.

We hope this change will encourage students who may have decided not to apply due to concerns about whether their scores match their high school performance to consider GW.