Harding University's Test Optional Policy

Due to the impact of COVID-19 related to ACT and SAT test date cancellations and the ongoing reduced availability and capacity of testing centers, Harding University is offering test-optional admission and scholarship awarding for students applying for Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 start dates. We recognize there are fewer opportunities to take the ACT and SAT, and we do not want students to be disadvantaged in any way because of the current extraordinary circumstances.

Each student's academic scholarship eligibility will automatically be determined upon admittance to the university, even if we do not receive an official standardized test score. Students admitted without test scores may submit an ACT, SAT or CLT test score through July of their senior year in order to qualify for higher scholarships. If you qualify for an academic scholarship, improved test scores and/or a higher final high school GPA may increase your scholarship, but you will not be negatively impacted by submitted test scores or your final high school GPA.

Test scores are still required to qualify for our premiere scholarships such as National Merit and Trustee Scholar Programs. Each student should also note the requirements for state-funded scholarships as their policies may still require test scores.

For students wishing to take a college entrance exam to improve scholarships and/or for placement purposes:

Please be aware of Harding's partnership with the Classic Learning Test (CLT) from which we accept scores for admission and scholarships. The CLT has several available registration dates, including remotely proctored exams as well as in-person testing at partner colleges, including Harding. To register for the CLT, visit

Harding will make the ACT residual test available to students who are able to visit campus before May 1 and will consider these scores for Harding academic achievement scholarships. For more information, visit


What entry terms are considered for test optional?

Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 only

If I submit test scores and/or final high school GPA after being designated test optional, can that score affect my merit scholarship?

Yes, but only positively.

Can I change my test-optional preference/designation?


Can I be considered for merit based scholarships without a test score?

Yes. Students who choose to be admitted under test-optional will still be considered for comparable merit based scholarships. However, students will not be considered for our highest merit based award or the Trustee Scholarship, Harding's full-tuition award, without a college entrance exam. If the SAT or ACT test is unavailable, students may take the Classic Learning Test and send the results to Harding.

Will choosing test-optional impact my academic program or course selection?

No. However, students who are admitted test-optional and do send test scores to Harding will be required to take a placement exam prior to enrolling at Harding to ensure they are enrolled in the correct courses. Please note that a student may submit test scores for placement purposes only without impacting test optional admittance or scholarships.

Are there specific student groups that must submit a test score for admission?

Yes, International students must submit exam scores that demonstrate English proficiency, but not necessarily an ACT or SAT. Harding accepts IELTS or TOEFL for demonstration of English proficiency.

What are the test optional guidelines for Honors Symposium?

Honors Symposium applicants will be strongly encouraged to take a standardized test (ACT, SAT, CLT), or to submit a copy of their PSAT test results. Applicants who prefer to apply without a test score will be required to have a 3.5 high school GPA for Honors Symposium admission. All inquiries about test-optional Symposium admission should be directed to

What are the test optional guidelines for the Honors College?

Fall 2021 students who wish to enroll in the Honors College must still meet the test score requirement (ACT equivalent of 27+). Students will not feel rushed to take a test right now; however, we must have a test score by the time the student registers for fall classes. As always, students who do not initially begin the fall term with the required test score may be admitted to the Honors College when they earn a Harding GPA of 3.25.