Student and Academic Life

ACT, SAT Optional for Admission to UK in 2021-22

photo of Wildcat with incoming freshman
Wildcat congratulates incoming first-year student. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2020) — The University of Kentucky is ensuring that the opportunity to access higher education is simpler for prospective students. For the 2021-22 academic year, the university is going “test-optional” for admission. This means that an ACT or SAT score is not required for a student seeking admission to UK.

National research, as well as our own institutional data, indicates that for many students, high school GPA alone is a significant predictor of academic success. 

And for some students a standardized test score may not show all that they are capable of and tell the full story of their potential. A test-optional admissions policy allows the applicant to choose whether SAT or ACT test scores will be considered as part of the admission review — letting the applicant decide how best to tell their own academic journey.

The Office of Undergraduate Admission will review applications in a holistic manner — taking into consideration the rigor of high school coursework, activities and engagement outside the classroom as well as a written essay.

“In March, we became test-optional for students entering this fall (Fall 2020) as ACT and SAT exams across the country were canceled due to the pandemic,” Scott McDonald, dean of undergraduate admission, said. “We didn’t want a lack of access to a test to prohibit a student from being a Wildcat.”

“As we’ve continued to monitor the pandemic, it only felt right to extend this policy for the 2020-21 academic year as so many standardized exams have continued to be postponed or canceled,” McDonald continued.

In addition to not requiring an ACT or SAT exam score for admission, the university is committed to making scholarship opportunities available to students, whether they apply with or without test scores.

“At the root of every decision we make is ‘what is in the best interest of the student?’” Christine Harper, associate provost for enrollment management, said. “Our team is working to develop scholarship-eligibility criteria based on the holistic view that a student presents in their application. We want as many students as possible to apply to UK and to be considered for scholarships even if they are unable to take the ACT or SAT.”

Students who are ready to join #UK2025 can apply today — the application for undergraduate admission is open. 

Visit www.applyuk.com and complete your application; students may apply via the UK application, the Common App or the myCoalition application. Students who wish to be considered for academic and competitive scholarships and the Lewis Honors College need to apply by the "Early Action" deadline of Dec. 1, 2020. UK’s "Regular Decision" deadline is Feb. 15, 2021.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.