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Optional Testing

Bates’ Test-Optional Policy

The submission of standardized testing, such as the SAT I, SAT II and the ACT, is optional for all students applying to Bates.

Students who speak English as a second language are required to submit their scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a parallel form of testing* (this includes non-native English speakers who attend English-medium schools or live in the U.S.).

*We accept results from the following standardized tests in place of the TOEFL:

  • the University of Michigan’s English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)
  • the University of Cambridge’s International English Language Testing System (IELTS),  Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE), Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) and First Certificate in English (FCE)
  • the College Board’s English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT)
  • the Canadian Test of English for Scholars and Trainees (CanTEST)
  • the Carleton Academic English Language (CAEL) Assessment
  • the Advanced Placement International English Language Examination (APIEL)


A national leader

Bates has been a national leader in the test-optional movement for three decades. In October 1984, the faculty voted to make standardized testing optional for admission. For the Class of 2017, 63.3 percent of applicants submitted some form of standardized testing. The following are average scores for students who submitted tests:

  • SAT Critical Reading 675
  • SAT Math 677
  • SAT Writing 676
  • ACT Composite 31

Read the study: Defining Promise: Twenty-five Years of Optional Testing at Bates College, 1984-2009

View the slides

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