Starting in Fall 2017, Emerson College began to allow students to apply for admission as a Test Optional candidate. Students who feel that their standardized test scores will be beneficial to the review process are encouraged to submit their scores as part of the application process. However, students who feel that their standardized test scores do not effectively represent their skills and talents or effectively demonstrate their ability to succeed within the college environment, may opt to forgo submitting them for review.

Students who choose not to submit standardized test scores are encouraged to submit an optional creative sample or portfolio through their Emerson admission portal after application submission. Take a look at some examples below by major.

Note for International Applicants: The Test Optional policy only applies to the SAT and ACT examinations. International applicants whose first language is not English and do not otherwise waive the requirement for an English language proficiency exam, are required to submit scores from one of the following examinations: TOEFL, IELTS, Pearson, Cambridge English, and Duolingo.

Major-related optional portfolio submission examples

By submitting an optional sample of your work, you are able to showcase your talents while providing us with insight into your potential to contribute to our academic community. 

The examples below are projects that students have shared in the past. Please use this as an opportunity to share with us, your skills and passions related to your chosen major that we would not be able to discern from other aspects of your application.

School of Communication

Business of Creative Enterprises

  • Sample business plan summary for a creative organization (up to 4 pages)
  • Sample grant proposal to fund a local arts related event (up to 4 pages)
  • Market (SWOT) Analysis for creative organization (up to 4 pages)
  • Sample highlighting artistic pursuits (Ex., film, creative writing, script, photography or music samples)

Communication Disorders

  • Essay on a topic related to the speech pathology or audiology fields
  • Lab report in related Communications Disorders fields (up to 5 pages)

Communication Studies

  • Sample public relations campaign for a non-profit organization (3-4 samples)
  • Sample political campaign advertising or polling analysis (3-4 samples)
  • Sample sports blog postings or event marketing materials (3-4 samples)


  • Portfolio of news articles published in school, local, regional or national publications (3-4 samples)
  • Video package of broadcast samples (up to 5 minutes)

Marketing Communication

  • Sample branding campaign for a local business  (3-4 samples)
  • Sample marketing pitch for a product or service (up to 5 pages)

School of Arts

Comedic Arts

  • A creative sample is required as a part of the application process for this program. This creative submission can be viewed by the admission committee to showcase your passion for comedy.

Performing Arts

  • Performing Arts majors require an artistic review as part of the application process. Students are able to upload this submission to the admission portal for additional review by the admission committee.

Visual Media Arts

Media Studies

  • Multimedia presentation on a topic of interest to the film industry

Media Arts Production

  • We encourage students to submit a portfolio related to their passion. Portfolio recommendation can be found on our Media Arts Production applications page

Writing, Literature and Publishing

  • Creative short story (up to 500 words)
  • Collection of poems (3-4 samples)
  • Essay focused on literary analysis (up to 500 words)
  • Sample magazine page layouts (3-4 samples)

Global BFA in Film Art

  • An additional creative sample is required as a part of the application process for this program.

Interdisciplinary Studies/Undecided

  • Please use any of the above examples to assist you in developing your submission. We encourage you to select a topic or sample that reflects your potential interests in any of our major options.


Q: How do I know if I should select Test Optional?

A: Test Optional is designed for students who perform well in the classroom but whose academic strength is not reflected in their standardized test scores. 

Q: Can I be homeschooled and apply Test Optional?

A: Yes

Q: How is a Test Optional applicant evaluated during the admission process compared to a Test Score applicant?

A: Students applying Test Optional are evaluated similarly to those who apply using their test scores. Test Optional applicants are not at any disadvantage compared to Test Score applicants.

Q: If I apply through Test Optional, am I eligible for financial aid?

A: Yes, you can still apply for need-based financial aid. In addition, academic-based scholarships are available to all high-achieving, motivated students.

Q: How do I let the Admission Office know that I would like to apply using Test Optionally?

A: After submitting your application to Emerson, please log into your admission portal and reply to a question on your checklist asking if you would like to apply Test Optional. After confirming your interest in Test Optional admission, the admission committee with review your application without the inclusion of test scores.

Q: What if I already submitted my test scores but I now want to apply Test Optional?

A: We will remove your test scores from consideration if you indicate that you are choosing to apply Test Optional on your application.

Q: Can I change my mind?

A: If you have already submitted an application to Emerson and would like to change your current testing option preference, please contact your admission counselor.