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Standardized Testing Policy

We know that a standardized test may not be the best measure of your curiosity about the world, how hard you work to learn something difficult, or your ability to bring together people with vastly different points of view. At Swarthmore, we practice holistic and contextual admissions. This means that while we may consider how well you do on these tests — and hope you prepare for them best you can — we do not make admissions decisions based on just one factor like a test score. Each piece of your application is important to us, including: the rigor of your curriculum; your extracurricular involvement and talent; your academic performance; your essays and written expression; your contributions to the classroom and your community; your recommendation letters; and your test scores — if you choose to submit them.

Recommended and Optional Tests

For students applying to Swarthmore in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 admissions cycles, we have suspended our requirement that applicants submit SAT or ACT scores. You will have the option to submit scores to us, and you will have the option for us to not consider scores already submitted (score suppression). Test scores for the next two years are optional, and students who either did not take a test or choose not to share results with us will not be penalized in the admissions process.

AP, IB, and other examination scores are optional in our process. Please think carefully on whether you want to share these results with us in your application. You will not have the option to suppress these examination scores, so if you submit them, we may use them in our review process. SAT subject tests will automatically be suppressed for students applying for fall 2021.

What is score suppression? 

During the course of searching for colleges, you may have sent your scores to admissions offices in multiple ways, such as when you signed up for the SAT or ACT. Because we are now test-optional for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 admissions cycles, we have made a new option available to you in the application process: score suppression. Choosing to suppress any or all of your scores means that the Admissions Committee will not consider those particular scores even if submitted to us. We will redact, remove, or hide your scores from admissions readers if you choose to suppress your scores.

When applying to Swarthmore, you will be asked to share your plans regarding the submission or consideration of SAT or ACT scores as part of your application. There will be 4 options for you to choose from, and this selection cannot be modified after submitting your application. The options are as follows:

  • I would like my SAT score(s) and ACT score(s) to be considered in the application review.  
  • I would like my SAT score(s) to be considered in the application review. If ACT scores are submitted, they will be suppressed from my application.
  • I would like my ACT score(s) to be considered in the application review.  If SAT scores are submitted, they will be suppressed from my application.
  • I would like to suppress all SAT and ACT score(s) from my application. I understand the Admissions Committee will review my application without these scores, even if submitted.

For example, let’s say you choose the second option: “I would like my SAT score(s) to be considered in the application review. If ACT scores are submitted, they will be suppressed from my application.” In this case, the Admissions Committee would review any SAT scores, official or self-reported, submitted to our office in any way. If ACT scores were submitted, we would suppress them -- or redact them from the file. This means that the Admissions Committee would not be able to view your ACT scores when reading your application, even if submitted from one of the following sources: sent from a testing agency (when you request to send a score report), self-reported on the application, self-reported on the “Self-Reported Test Scores” form in your applicant portal, on your high school transcript, on your Discover Swarthmore application, or any other submission by you or another person.

Testing Options

Should you choose to do so, you will have the option to submit scores from multiple exams in the admissions process, self-reported or officially, including the following tests: SAT, ACT, AP exam scores, IB exam scores, PSAT, and PreACT. SAT subject tests are not required, and we will not review SAT subject tests, even if submitted to us, for applicants entering in fall 2021.

For those who choose to submit SAT or ACT scores, we do not require the optional essay section of the SAT or the optional writing section of the ACT. If you provide scores from those sections, they will not be considered in our application review. Swarthmore College superscores your SAT results — that is, we only consider the highest section scores submitted from multiple SAT test dates. Similarly, we only consider the highest section scores submitted from multiple ACT test dates, as well as the highest ACT composite score submitted.

If the majority of your education has been taught in a non-English language curricula, we encourage you to provide results from the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test.

Submitting Test Scores

​Self-Reporting Scores

  • You may self-report your standardized test scores on your application for admission. In addition, you may self-report or update your standardized test scores via a link in your applicant portal, which is available after you submit your application for admission.  Should you choose to submit test scores, we accept self-reported scores in lieu of official scores for all applicants.

Submitting Official Scores

  • We accept score reports as official when they are sent to our office via email, fax, or postal mail directly from a school counselor, principal or other school official. Or, you may submit official test scores directly from the testing agencies. Our testing codes are 2821 (College Board), 3722 (ACT), and 2821 (TOEFL).  
  • Swarthmore College allows students to use Score Choice, a College Board option to submit select test scores. We also allow you to submit your ACT scores from the dates of your choosing. Should you choose to share your exam results with us, you are not required to submit all test scores to the College.
  • For applicants who chose to submit testing for review, enrolling students are required to submit official standardized test scores upon matriculation. Admissions will verify scores for all enrolling students. Any discrepancy between self-reported and official scores may jeopardize a student’s enrollment at Swarthmore.
  • For applicants who chose not to submit testing to us under our test-optional policy, we ask that enrolling students submit standardized test scores upon matriculation, if you have taken the ACT or SAT. This is not a requirement and will only be used for research and placement purposes. Enrolling students will not be penalized, regardless of the score submitted.