Test Optional Information for Students Applying for Fall 2024

Should I choose to include my test scores on the application for admission?  At the University of Iowa, we provide a straightforward flexible process so you can apply with confidence.

The Office of Admissions at the University of Iowa encourages students to take the ACT or SAT as they plan for college. Applicants have the opportunity to self-report a test score on the application for admission or to apply without providing a test score. A standardized test score is not required for general admission, direct admission to academic programs, or consideration for most merit scholarships. Applicants are still encouraged to include a test score on the application if they have one, as test scores will only be used if they benefit the applicant.

Updating Test Scores After Application  

A unique feature of Iowa’s test optional process is that we allow students who apply without a test score to change their mind after applying, and even after receiving an admission or scholarship decision. Students who wish to add new or updated test scores to their application may submit them via their admission profile in MyUI or have official ACT or SAT scores sent. Subsequent receipt of test scores will never negatively impact a previous admission or scholarship decision. New or updated test scores must be received by April 1, 2024 to be considered for additional scholarship opportunities or additional scholarship consideration. Standardized tests taken after February 2024 will not be used for additional scholarship consideration. 


All admitted first-year students entering Fall 2024 will be considered for merit scholarships awarded by the Office of Admissions including those admitted without a test score. Typically, students who are admitted with a strong academic record and test scores above the institutional averages (at or above 26 ACT/1230 SAT) will have more opportunities for larger merit scholarships compared to those admitted without a test score.

Students who choose to include a test score in their application will be reviewed for scholarships both with and without a test score and will receive the best possible offer between the two options, maximizing their scholarship opportunities.

Evaluation Without Test Scores  

Individual review of applicants who choose not to include a test score will largely focus on rigor of academic coursework and grades. If a student does not provide an ACT or SAT test score at the time of application, they may be required to submit additional academic documents, transcripts, or a personal statement to receive an admission decision. Students will be contacted via email if any additional documents are required. 

If a personal statement is requested, applicants should use this opportunity to inform the admission committee more about themselves by providing additional information that is not present on the application or on a transcript. Applicants may meet the personal statement requirement by submitting ONE of the following:

  • A response to any of the essay prompts on Common or Coalition applications.
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  • Provide further context to your academic transcript for the admissions committee. Use this statement as an opportunity to share challenges or extenuating circumstances that may explain patterns or trends on your transcript. What have you done to prepare yourself for academic success at the University of Iowa?

The recommended length for a personal statement is approximately 650 words. Please note that there is no strict word count or limits implemented, and the general length of the essay will not be the basis of admission decisions. Upload personal statements via the Admissions Profile in MyUI.

This page will be updated regularly with information regarding testing and admission at the University of Iowa.