Test-Optional FAQ

We have prepared this page to address many common questions regarding test-optional. However, if you have additional questions, we encourage you to reach out to your admissions counselor or contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@uc.edu.

We recognize that changes to test availability and testing environments due to the COVID-19 pandemic left many students with inequitable access to standardized tests. UC was proud to offer test-optional admission to students applying for the fall 2021 term and will continue the two-year pilot for applicants for fall 2022 to ensure equitable opportunity for admission.

We have always taken a holistic approach to evaluating students for admission. Standardized test scores have historically only made up a small part of our decision process. In the absence of a test score, we will continue to look at all factors on your application holistically including the completion of a core curriculum that includes English, math, science, social studies, and various electives, grades earned, a student’s decision to take rigorous coursework such as AP, honors, or dual credit where it is offered, application essays, extracurricular activities, and other achievements. 

A complete list of required application materials can be found on our application information web page. View a full list of application requirements >>

Our goal when reviewing an application is to more fully understand who the applicant is, how likely they are to be academically successful in an Uptown campus program, and what attributes the student will bring to our campus community.  

Therefore, we do not have a formula for whether or not you should choose to have your test scores considered as part of the admissions process. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if the test score is an accurate and relevant representation of your academic strength and ability.

Please Note: Some academic programs still require submission of a test score. See question #4 for a complete list. 

Most programs at University of Cincinnati will consider students for admission with or without a standardized test score as part of their application.  

A test score is still required for the following programs:

International students will be required to provide proof of English ability, as outlined on the international admissions web page.

Students hoping to be considered for the following academic programs are required to submit a test score:

Students who apply test-optional by our Dec. 1 Early Action Deadline will be considered for scholarships. Similar to the admission review process, scholarship decisions will also be based on a holistic review of all application materials.

Students will be able to tell us in their application whether they want their test score to be included or excluded from the admission review process. This can be found in the “General” section of UC’s Common Application questions. 

If you indicate on your application that you do not want your test scores considered, your test scores will not be included as part of your admission review regardless of whether you send them to us from a testing agency. We are not able to review self-reported test scores for admission.

Test scores that will be considered for admission must be received on an official score report sent by either the ACT or College Board. Self-reported scores and scores from a student’s transcript will not be considered for admission.  

We’ve never thought a test score makes one applicant unique from another – after all, many students receive the same score. Ultimately we want to review your application and learn about who you are. Write an essay that shows your personality, demonstrate your hobbies and interests in your list of activities, and request letters from recommenders that can speak to your unique strengths.

No. Students have various reasons for not sending their test score, from not believing it is an accurate reflection of their academic ability to not having a chance to take the test at all. Applications without a test score will be reviewed in the same way as those with a test score.