John W. Olver Design Building at UMass Amherst
Undergraduate Admissions

Test-Optional Policy

At UMass Amherst, we are committed to reducing barriers caused by COVID-19 disruptions for students who plan to apply for admission. Therefore, beginning with the spring 2021 term, and continuing for each spring and fall term through spring 2023, we are making standardized tests optional for first-year entering applicants. During this time, UMass Amherst will review applications with or without standardized test scores. Students who have taken the SAT/ACT exams are welcome to send their scores. 

One of our core values is a commitment to practice individualized, holistic undergraduate admissions, and we will continue to review all parts of the application, especially in the context of the unprecedented academic disruptions students are experiencing. The test-optional approach at UMass Amherst applies to all majors. As we always have, we will continue to consider the rigor of students’ high school coursework in our assessment, especially for courses that apply most directly to the applicant’s intended major.

As one of the country’s top-25 public research universities, we look forward to using the test-optional approach during this period to continue to learn about the relationship between high school grades and standardized test scores, and to develop better models for predicting student success. Finding the best fit for our applicants and getting students through to their degree as efficiently and effectively as possible continues to be a significant part of our mission.

Below are frequently asked questions regarding this policy change. If you have additional questions, please write to mail@admissions.umass.edu or call 413-545-0222. 

Yes. For those who choose to submit test scores, we will continue to consider your best combination of scores from all of your tests.

As has always been the case, the rigor of your high school course work, especially as it relates to your choice of major, will be factored into the application evaluation. Applicants applying to majors where strong math skills are necessary will be expected to show strong math proficiency in their related high school courses. 

Undergraduate Admissions at UMass Amherst uses a holistic review process to consider each first-year application. That means all academic and personal achievements you share as a part of the application will be considered in the admission process. For applicants who do not submit test scores, the GPA will play a more significant role in the quantitative assessment of your application. As has always been the case, the rigor of your high school course work, especially as it relates to your choice of major, will be factored into the application evaluation. 

If your grades have been impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and remote learning (such as pass/fail grades or credit/no credit grades), UMass Amherst will use the letter or number grades that we do have to calculate a GPA based on the MBHE admissions standards. We employ an individualized, holistic review process with emphasis on components such as course rigor, academic recommendation, and the essay.

While the sliding scale is a benchmark the State of Massachusetts provides, UMass Amherst standards have typically exceeded the scale. Therefore the sliding scale will not impact first-year admissions decisions, as has been the case in previous years.

For admission to UMass Amherst, the SAT/ACT requirement has been removed starting with spring 2021 entry and continuing through the spring 2023 admissions cycle. To learn more about NCAA requirements please visit the NCAA Eligibility Center.

No. Unlike previous years, standardized testing is no longer a requirement for first-year admissions.

Home-schooled applicants, who are in an approved curriculum, are not required to submit a standardized test score.

Yes, if you do not submit a test score you will still be considered for merit scholarships and special programs. Like any optional item for consideration, if you choose to submit a test score, it will be included in the review of your application for merit scholarships and special programs.

More information about sending your test scores to UMass Amherst can be found here.

If you submit a test score, like any optional item for consideration, it will be included in the review of your application.  One factor, such as a test score, GPA, or activities, will not alone determine your admission to UMass.  We have a holistic review process, which means we look at everything you include in your application. 

More information about sending your test scores to UMass Amherst can be found here.

No. Undergraduate Admissions at UMass Amherst uses a holistic review process to consider each first-year application. That means all academic and personal achievements you share as a part of the application will be considered in the admission process. With the standardized testing requirement removed there is no reason to submit documentation.

If you have already taken the SAT/ACT, and you feel the scores reflect your abilities, we encourage you to send your official scores to UMass Amherst, since they can assist with better understanding your preparedness for our academic community. It is important to note that test scores are only one factor among many in the first-year admissions process. For your reference, here is a link to our middle 50% range of SAT/ACT scores.

International applicants who apply to UMass Amherst as first-year applicants starting with spring 2021 entry and continuing through the spring 2023 admissions cycle are not required to submit the SAT/ACT test score. However, proof of English language proficiency is still required if English in not your first language and your high school is not following the American or British curriculum. You can access a checklist of the international first-year admission requirements, including the full list of English language tests we accept, here.

If you are applying Early Action, you should take the SAT/ACT by the October test date and indicate that you want your scores sent to UMass Amherst. Scores are typically received within three weeks of the test date. If you are applying Regular Decision, you should take the SAT/ACT by the December test date. For either application date, if you have not listed UMass Amherst as one of the schools to which your scores should be sent, please log in to the testing agency’s site and do so to ensure that the scores reach us by the application priority date.

More information about sending your test scores to UMass Amherst can be found here.

All first-year entering applicants starting with spring 2021 entry and continuing through the spring 2023 admissions cycle. 

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this change will allow UMass Amherst to better serve potential students and help ensure their health and safety. Many testing organizations have already canceled 2020 SAT/ACT test dates. It is expected these cancellations will continue through the fall of 2020 and perhaps into 2021. Therefore, UMass Amherst will allow all first-year entering applicants to opt out of submitting standardized test scores as part of their application.

Because all academic and personal achievements you share as a part of the application will be considered in the admission process, if you submit an optional item for consideration, such as a test score or additional letter of recommendation, it will be included in the review of your application. Please keep in mind that for applicants who do not submit test scores, the GPA will play a more significant role in the quantitative assessment of your application. As has always been the case, the rigor of your high school course work, especially as it relates to your choice of major, will be factored into the application evaluation.