FAQs | Undergraduate Temporary Test-Optional Policy

Submitting Test Scores
Why is SMU adopting a temporary test-optional policy?
SMU recognizes that many talented students continue to have limited opportunities to take the SAT and ACT during the pandemic. We are looking for academically talented students – not just those who can find one of the limited number of seats to take these tests.


How long is the temporary test-optional policy in place?

We have extended our Temporary Test Optional policy to cover fall 2022 and spring 2023 applicants.


How do I know if I should submit my test scores or not?
Admission and scholarship decisions are based on many factors including information from applicants’ high school transcript, personal essay, letters of recommendation, and record of personal achievements in addition to SAT or ACT scores. Under this policy, applicants who choose not to submit ACT or SAT scores will be evaluated on the other factors.

Do you superscore standardized test scores? 
For those who choose to submit scores, SAT and ACT scores are superscored. Self-reported test scores are also accepted.


If I choose to self-report test scores, will I be able to report one specific section of the SAT or ACT?  
For self-reported scores, provide scores for each section of the exam. Partial scores will not be considered. 


If I submit test scores will I be looked at more favorably than those who do not? 
No preference is given to applicants who submit or do not submit test scores.   
Grade/GPA-Related Questions 
If my grades were impacted by COVID-19, what should I do? 
All application materials are looked at in context. Many students have seen their academic record impacted by COVID-19, and items will be viewed through that lens. 
What if my school uses Pass/Fail grades during the Spring 2020 semester? 
Pass/Fail grades or any other official grading system submitted by your school will be considered in our admission review. 
If I do not submit test scores, will you put more weight on my GPA? 
Without test scores, all other elements of your application become more important, including grades, résumé, essays and recommendation letters.   
Extracurricular Activities 
My extracurricular activities have been put on hold because of COVID-19, how will they be evaluated during the admission process since many were cancelled? 

It is understood that most extracurricular activities will be affected in the foreseeable future, and the potential gap in activities will not affect admission to SMU. 
Cox School of Business 
If I do not submit test scores, will I be considered for admission to the Cox School of Business? 
Yes, the Cox School of Business will review all students who list business as an academic interest/major on their application. 
Scholarship Consideration
If I choose not to submit my test scores, will it impact my ability/chances of receiving a merit award? 
No, academic merit scholarships are awarded to over half of the students in its entering class each fall. They range in value from $20,000 to $30,000 per year and more. These scholarships do not require a separate application and will also follow a test-optional process.

If I take the SAT or ACT after I am admitted, can I submit those scores later for scholarship consideration? 
Yes, additional information for scholarship consideration can be submitted until the scholarship deadline date (typically January 15).  


If I choose not to submit my scores, how will that impact my ability/chances of receiving departmental scholarships? 
All students who apply to SMU and list an academic interest or major will be evaluated for departmental scholarships regardless of whether test scores are submitted or not.
International Students
I am an international student. Are you also waiving English proficiency requirements (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)? 
Proof of English proficiency will still be required if your four years of high school education was not in English. 
Honors Programs
If I do not submit test scores, will I be considered for the University’s honors programs? 
Yes, without standardized test scores, consideration for the University's honors program will still be given.

Future Applicant - Entering SMU in 2023 and Beyond
Will SMU consider going to test-optional in future years? 
At this time, the policy is only temporary and applies to students who apply to start in the Spring 2022, Fall 2022 or Spring 2023.

If I graduate in 2022 but decide to wait a year to apply to SMU, will this policy still apply to me? 
This policy was approved for students starting in Spring 2022, Fall 2022 or Spring 2023. If a gap year is desired, apply for admission under the current test-optional policy and, if admitted, request a gap year. 


How will you review the second semester of my junior year?
This is a challenging, uncertain time and SMU will continue to provide a truly holistic review of your application. It is the hope that all applicants will stay actively engaged in their academics to prepare for future academic success as well as for standardized testing.


If schools go to a Pass/Fail system of grading (or credit/no credit), how will SMU review this during the application process?
Many schools have planned to take this approach. There are no penalties for any adjustment to grading methodology during this period of time.