Cornell University Has Suspended ACT/SAT Testing Requirement for 2022 First-Year Applicants

*Update: Cornell has suspended the SAT/ACT testing requirement for 2022, 2023, and 2024 applicants.

The SARS-COV-2 pandemic emergency has led to many SAT and ACT administration cancellations. Due to this extraordinary circumstance, students seeking to enroll at Cornell University beginning in August 2022 can submit their applications without including the results from ACT or SAT exams. This will be true for both the Early Decision and Regular Decision rounds of review.

For All Applicants to Current and Future Terms: Please do not feel you need to take exams unless you are able to take the exam locally near your home and you feel safe in doing so. As a reminder, we will evaluate your application without standardized testing. For your health and safety, please always adhere to your local, state, and national COVID-19 guidelines.

For those who have taken, or who can take, ACT and SAT exams

Cornell overall has not planned to adopt a test-optional admission policy permanently. As appears to be true at test-optional colleges and universities, we anticipate that many students who will have had reasonable and uninterrupted opportunities to take the ACT and/or SAT during 2020-2021 administrations will continue to submit results, and those results will continue to demonstrate preparation for college-level work.

Students who have taken a test, or even more than one test, but would still prefer not to submit those results, can make that choice.

For those who can’t plan for, take, and submit exams

Cornell readers will consider with increased scrutiny their other application documents, looking for different evidence of excellent academic preparation, including:

  • challenging courses and excellent grades in each secondary school (high school) context. Note: there will be no negative interpretation for schools and students who have had only pass/fail or similar grading options during this current term;
  • evidence of commitment and effort to pursuing other challenging learning experiences; 
  • results from other kinds of secondary, college-preparatory, and university-qualifying testing where available and verifiable; 
  • care, craft, and authenticity in their writing submissions; 
  • and wherever practical and available, details, insight, and analysis from secondary school counselors and teachers. 

Applicants with no test results might more often be asked after review has begun for additional evidence of continuing preparation, including grade reports from current senior year enrollment when that can be made available in time for Cornell admission review. 

Specific Cornell colleges

(Score-Free) Cornell colleges that will be score-free and will not use test scores in the admission process:

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
  • Cornell SC Johnson College of Business - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
  • Cornell SC Johnson College of Business - Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration

(SAT/ACT testing optional) Cornell colleges and schools that will also include a review of test results they receive:

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Human Ecology
  • School of Industrial and Labor Relations