The SUNY system has officially retired the requirement of submitting SAT or ACT scores for applicant consideration. The temporary policy that suspended standardized testing scores back in 2020 has been renewed each year since the start of the pandemic. As other universities around the country have opted to keep this policy in place, the State University of New York has decided to follow suit.
As per the memorandum on April 11, 2023, SUNY Chancellor Dr. John B. King Jr. requested the SUNY Board of Trustees make a final decision on the permanence of the test-optional guidelines. Dr. King recommended “maintaining the current Board requirement that has provided campuses with this flexibility consistent with national trends.”
The decision was unanimous to keep the current policy from the pandemic of test-optional applications for all 64 SUNY campuses. All of which have been added to the growing list of test-optional or test-free colleges, which now reaches 1,874 according to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing.
Studies across the board have shown that standardized tests are not an accurate representation of a prospective student’s intelligence or college readiness. As reviewed by Hanna M. Sturm of Bethel University, in her thesis “The Validity of the SAT and ACT,” the factors contributing to an individual’s test score span further than this. Standardized testing shows that one student may be a better test taker than another, their school may have provided better resources for SAT prep or they had the ability to secure private tutoring in preparation for these standardized tests.
On the contrary, some studies refute the notion that going test-optional results in a better pool of applicants. One thing it does for certain is widen the pool of applicants. More students are likely to submit applications with SAT or ACT scores that may have been overlooked by admissions without them. Those students may still have lower odds of acceptance than those who are able to supply impressive scores, but they are not “disqualified” by a low score.
SUNY New Paltz has yet to officially update the freshmen admission page on the website as it still reads, “SUNY New Paltz is SAT/ACT optional for the Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 semesters (unless applying to an accelerated medical program.”
This news can impact the chances of incoming freshmen being accepted to the schools they have applied to. A low score will no longer exclude an otherwise well-rounded student from being considered; a high score can only be an added bonus for others that choose to submit.
The idea behind going test-optional – especially for the colleges and universities that enacted the policy before the COVID-19 pandemic hit – is to evaluate students holistically with their personal experiences considered. Removing the testing requirement allows admission departments to see how they performed within their individual high school experience through measurements like the GPA they worked to maintain for four years, extracurricular activities, jobs and their personal statements. These aspects of their applications work to provide a clearer understanding of who they are as a person and a student. Unlike a standardized test, which often can only tell a school how a student performed on one day of their academic career, without ever knowing how much or how little time and energy they put into achieving that score.