SUNY abandons SAT, ACT requirement for applicants

The requirements were dropped temporarily at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the test scores will no longer be required as part of the admission process.

| 16 Apr 2023 | 10:17

The State University of New York system has permanetly dropped its SAT and ACT requirements for incoming students at its 64 campuses.

Historically, the SAT and ACT have been an integral component of the college application process for American teenagers. Since 2020, the SAT/ACT requirements had been suspended at SUNY for Covid-19 related reasons. However the university system’s board of trustees last week made the decision to do away with the test requirement permanently.

“Maintaining a test-optional policy is consistent with national trends at peer institutions. Research from the Rockefeller Institute of Government found that colleges in New York State and across the country are largely maintaining their test-optional policies and/or implementing them permanently. In addition, fewer New York State high school students are taking the SAT, especially among historically underrepresented groups,” said Dr. John B. King, Jr., Chancellor of the SUNY system in a letter to the board of trustees.

King also stated that in the time period during which the exams have been optional—since the beginning of the pandemic—“the retention rate gap between test takers and non-test takers has stayed the same or even shrunk.”

“Each SUNY campus will continue its longstanding commitment to a holistic review of student applications that includes grades, program of study, academic achievements, non-academic achievements, and other activities that allow for the evaluation of the potential success of a candidate for admission,” the letter concluded.

Colleges including Columbia and Vassar had previously dropped the requirement as did the University of California in 2021.

Even before SUNY made the tests optional, standardized tests had been on the decline. The College Board, which administers the SAT, said that fewer than 6 in 10 students high school graduates took the SAT in 2022. Prior to the pandemic, 8 in 10 high school graduates in New York took the SAT.