Test Options and Policy




At Houghton College, we recognize that students are more than just a test score. This is why we employ a holistic application review process and each admission file is read in its entirety. We also have a very personalized experience for the prospective student and each student has a designated admission counselor that works with them from application start to move-in day. That holistic process extends to our commitment and passion for personalizing each acceptance letter. 

Many students may find that their standardized test scores add a supporting element to their admission file, while others may not. Yet others may opt not to take a standardized test at all.

Houghton College allows students the option to decide whether or not they would like to submit test scores as part of the application process. Students may do so by selecting the appropriate option on the Houghton application for admission or The Common Application.

Houghton College, while it may be among the first nationally-ranked Christian colleges to become test-optional, is certainly not alone. According to fairtest.org, half of the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation are test optional. Houghton is proud to join the list of schools that allow students to decide whether or not to include test scores in their admission file.

We have further expanded our test options to now include the Classic Learning Test (CLT), an innovative new college entrance exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did Houghton decide to become test optional?

Houghton operates with a holistic admission review process. Through research and reflection, we found that standardized test scores may not always be the best representation for each and every applicant's fit for Houghton College. In fact, at Houghton College and elsewhere, an applicant's high school GPA has been shown to be a stronger predictor of subsequent college GPA than standardized test scores alone. As such, we now allow students the freedom to choose whether or not to submit standardized test scores.

When should I submit my test scores?

First, here are some helpful benchmarks to be aware of.

  • 1170: Average SAT of incoming Houghton students
  • 25: Average incoming ACT
  • 3.5: Average incoming GPA

Our scholarship chart includes consideration for SAT/ACT scores. The minimum score for scholarship consideration is a 3.0 GPA and a 1050 SAT/22 ACT. While students may qualify for a Director's Scholarship without submitting test scores, any scholarship level above that amount requires the submission of an SAT or ACT score (an 1100 SAT or 24 ACT or above).

Applicants for admission at Houghton are not required to submit a standardized test score (SAT/ACT) unless…

  • They wish to be considered for Honors at Houghton
  • They wish to be considered for a merit-based scholarship above the Director’s level
  • They are an international applicant (TOEFL in lieu of SAT/ACT, exception for Canadian applicants who currently are not required to submit a standardized test score)
  • They are applying for consideration for the LECOM medical school or University of Buffalo Pharmacy programs.

Individual departments will reserve the ability to require test scores as related to individual accreditation policies for those areas/programs (e.g. education department) and/or entrance criteria for the program (e.g. engineering program).

The Admission Committee will continue to reserve the right, through the deferral process, to request additional information from applicants who fall below expected academic markers. This includes the possibility of requesting, but not limited to: test scores, mid-year report, and/or an admission interview.

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