Test scores optional for early decision applicants

*Update: Geneseo's admissions office announced subsequent to the publication of this article that it will no longer be extending the offer described. All students including those applying early decision will be required to submit standardized test scores.*

Geneseo has announced that it will allow this year's early decision applicants to opt out of submitting SAT or ACT scores if they so choose.

The change, however, is experimental and the college will monitor its success to determine whether or not it will be carried through to future application cycles.

The option is designed to give students who have above-average academic records and Advanced Placement test scores but only average SAT or ACT scores a better chance at getting accepted.

"Ideally we assume we will end up accepting some people who will not submit scores," said William Caren, associate vice president for enrollment. "We will monitor, for a year, those students who are accepted without test scores in order to compare their average performance with others."

Caren said that the option would likely affect a relatively small number of prospective students and therefore "the effect on the profile of future classes will be negligible."

According to The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, over 815 four-year colleges and universities across the nation admit a "substantial" number of students without consideration to their test scores. The organization reports that the applicant pools at these institutions have had no loss in academic quality and have actually become more diverse.

"I think it is a good idea because I did apply early decision but my scores weren't that good," sophomore Karina Stamatis said. "I feel that more people will want to apply early decision now because they will feel more confident that they will get in."

"If I was sure that Geneseo was where I wanted to go and, had this policy been put in place when I was applying, I definitely would have applied early decision," sophomore Casey Williamson said.

"Sometimes we don't admit someone with a strong academic record because their test scores don't match up," said Caren. "This experiment will tell us if we are doing the right thing by considering both."

The middle 50 percent range of SAT scores for the Class of 2013 was 1270-1410 while the middle 50 percent range for ACT scores was 28-30. The college has become increasingly selective in the past several years - only 3,630 of nearly 11,000 applicants were offered admission this year.