What are the benefits of taking the TOEFL tests?
If English is not your first language, many colleges will ask you to submit TOEFL scores to be eligible for admission. Some schools have specific score cutoffs that you must reach in order to be accepted. The main advantage to taking the TOEFL as a non-native English speaker is that you will have more options for college since the test is such a prevalent requirement.
That being said, if you're fluent in English, sometimes you can get out of taking the TOEFL. If you've already been in English classes for the past two or three years or score within a certain range on the verbal portion of the SAT or the Reading and English sections of the ACT, the TOEFL requirement may be waived. Individual schools have a variety of different policies, so you should do some research into the specific colleges where you plan on applying. Harvard and Stanford, for example, do not require international students to submit TOEFL scores, though Stanford recommends it. MIT, on the other hand, requires a minimum score of 90 out of 120 on the TOEFL for admission.
So, this means that applying without toefl score will hurt my chances at Harvard or Stanford?