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 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.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.