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College Admission Use of National Test Scores

College Admission Use of National Test Scores HB21-1067

On May 25, 2021, Governor Polis signed House Bill 21-1067 into law.  Effective immediately, this bill makes it optional for Colorado's public four-year colleges and universities to require or not require national test scores in the admission process. In other words, our state institutions can make admission decisions without considering SAT or ACT test scores. It is up to the applicant if they want their test score to be considered in the admission process. This practice is often referred to as "test-optional". All public four-year colleges and universities have confirmed that they will be test-optional!

Not sure if you should submit your SAT/ACT scores? 

Click here to read advice from Colorado colleges and universities regarding submitting test scores (updated August 10, 2023).

More about Test Optional in Colorado

HB21-1067 is an expansion of HB20-1407 which allowed our four-year state institutions to offer test-optional admission to the high school graduating class of 2021 due to cancelled SAT and ACT exams during the beginning of the pandemic. 

Applicants who choose not to submit a test score for admission will be considered the same as students who submit test scores as institutions will be able to make informed decisions without the exams. Institutions look for reasons to admit students in Colorado. The following factors are examples of what will be considered in making an admission decision beyond test scores:

  • high school grade point average;
  • number and mix of academic courses;
  • rigor of courses like honors and higher level math courses;
  • college level courses (like Concurrent Enrollment) completed while in high school;
  • AP/IB courses and exam scores;
  • work experiences including pre-apprenticeships, job shadowing and more;
  • volunteering experiences;
  • compelling life experiences;
  • leadership experiences; and
  • fit to the college campus (interest in offered majors, research into the institution, etc.).


Frequently Asked Questions


What does the law do? 

It allows state four-year colleges and universities to make it optional for applicants to submit SAT or ACT test scores as part of the first-time freshman admission process. 


What does that mean? 

High school graduates applying as first-time freshmen will not be required to submit their SAT or ACT test scores as part of the college admission process to state/public four-year colleges and universities in Colorado. 


Who are "first-time freshmen"? 

First-time freshmen are students who are applying to attend a public Colorado college/university for the first time and have less than 24 college-level credit hours completed after high school graduation. College courses taken while in high school are not factored into the first-time freshman definition. Students who have completed 24 or more college level courses after high school graduation are considered under transfer admission standards. More admission standards information can be found on the College Admissions in Colorado page.


Can SAT or ACT scores still be submitted? 

Yes. Absolutely. If applicants still wish to submit their test scores to the institutions they are applying to, they certainly can do so. Colleges and universities will review their scores as part of the college admission process. 


What will institutions consider as part of the admission process without SAT or ACT scores? 

Institutions consider high school grade point average, a mix and number of academic courses successfully completed in high school, rigor of courses completed (for example, Concurrent Enrollment, AP/IB courses and exams, honors, etc.), work, volunteering and leadership experiences, and more.  Some institutions require and/or consider essays and letters of recommendations as well.  


But can a quality admission decision be made without the use of SAT or ACT scores?  

Absolutely. National and state research demonstrates that the high school grade point average is the single best predictor of a student’s likelihood to stay, succeed and graduate from college. Using SAT and ACT scores in addition to the high school grade point average and other academic factors can be helpful in predicting a student’s success, but not always.  


How do I let the colleges and universities I am applying to know whether I will be submitting my SAT or ACT scores or not? 

Visit the first-time freshman admission web page for the colleges and universities you are interested in applying to for specific instructions.


Which colleges and universities does this impact? 

All of Colorado's public/state four-year colleges and universities have confirmed that they will be test-optional. These institutions are:

  • Adams State University
  • Colorado Mesa University
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Colorado State University - Fort Collins
  • Colorado State University - Global
  • Colorado State University - Pueblo
  • Fort Lewis College
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Colorado Colorado Springs
  • University of Colorado Denver
  • University of Northern Colorado
  • Western Colorado University


Some private colleges and universities in Colorado are already “test-optional” – these include: Colorado College; Regis University; and University of Denver.

Colorado community, junior, and area technical colleges are open admission and do not require test scores as part of the admission process.


Aren’t some scholarships dependent on SAT or ACT scores?

Colleges and universities have already changed almost all of their scholarships to be test-optional as well. Some institutions have moved completely to not considering test scores at all as part of the consideration process for merit scholarships. Regardless, it is good to check for eligibility details for the scholarships for which you are interested in being considered. 


Are SAT or ACT scores used for other purposes at colleges and universities?

Yes. Often test scores are used to determine if a student is ready to be successful in college level English, math, and other academic courses. However, other indicators can be used to place students into college level courses as well. Additionally, students can submit test scores after the admission process if they wish their scores to be considered for course placement. Check with the academic advising office at the institution you are interested in for more details.


If I am a transfer student, how does this impact me?

Applicants with 24 or more college level courses successfully completed after high school graduation have a different admission process and are not required to submit SAT or ACT test scores as part of the admission process. Learn more about transfer admission.


Where can I learn more about the college admission process in Colorado?