Test-Optional Admissions Policy FAQs

SUNY Geneseo is now test optional. We have decided to change our application review process to remove standardized test scores that we feel can be an obstacle for high school students of color, first-generation college applicants, and low-income students.

We believe a test optional admissions policy promotes both equity and excellence while ensuring that ALL students—no matter the quality of their high school, socioeconomic background, race, ethnicity, or gender—can now experience a fair opportunity for admission to SUNY Geneseo.


What does “test optional” mean?

Students are NOT required to submit standardized test scores (SAT, ACT) as part of their application package. Test scores are NOT mandatory to gain admission.

Why did SUNY Geneseo choose to enact test-optional policies?

We believe you can have standards that are responsible and inclusive without standardizing an applicant’s aptitude for success. Test optional policies provide better opportunity for everyone, no matter where they call home or what the shape of their current academic path. In addition, test optional policies are shown to promote more holistic excellence, inclusivity, and civic responsibility.

Does research support test-optional admission policies?

Absolutely. As a premier public liberal arts college, we considered academic research, current trends, and best practices among colleges and universities of all sizes and from across the country. Some highlights from that research include:

A 2016 report by FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, titled Test Scores Do Not Equal Merit: Enhancing Equity and Excellence in College Admissions by Deemphasizing SAT and ACT Results, stated that dropping or restricting tests helps colleges raise overall admission standards and allows them to recruit academically stronger classes.

In January 2020, Science Daily featured a new study published in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, reporting that students' high school GPAs are five times stronger than their ACT scores at predicting college graduation.

Will test-optional admission affect the high standard of education at SUNY Geneseo?

Not at all. We believe our revised admission policies will create a more diverse and therefore academically superior experience for our admitted students, all in keeping with our vision to be “widely recognized for demonstrating the enduring power of a public liberal arts education.”

What will you use besides standardized test scores to evaluate my application?

The Office of Admissions has a long history of evaluating students' potential for success using a holistic approach that includes grades, the program of study, exam scores (including Regents, AP, IB), academic achievements, co-curricular activities, and other measures.

What if I still want to submit my test scores?

Applicants should always feel free to add test scores they believe indicate their aptitude for successful higher learning, but they will never be a singular factor of admission to the college.

Will I still be considered for scholarships if I choose to not submit test scores?

Yes. Scholarships will remain an essential element of any financial aid evaluation.

Am I at a disadvantage in the admissions process if I don’t submit my scores?

No. Many determining factors make up the character of our applicants, and we will continue to evaluate all manner of academic performance and extracurricular activity when considering an application for admission.