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Information for High School Students

Admission to SUNY-ESF is competitive, but our admissions process is a personal one. Your interests, abilities and goals are important to us in providing the best guidance we can as you explore your options.

Applicants should present strong high school academic credentials. A college preparatory curriculum is expected — three units each of college preparatory mathematics and science are required, four years are highly recommended. Art, architectural or technical drawing courses are highly recommended for applicants to Landscape Architecture. Advanced coursework at the honors or college level is highly recommended. In addition, first-year applicants are encouraged to participate in an Information Session to improve their understanding of the College and its academic programs.

Applicants may use either the ApplySUNY Application or The Common Application. Additional required materials available on the Applicant Portal after the application is received include:

  • Official high school transcripts (including senior year first-quarter grades)
  • ESF Supplemental Application, including ESF essay question response

SUNY has temporarily suspended SAT and ACT testing requirements for admission to bachelor's degree-granting campuses for the spring 2022, fall 2022, and spring 2023 terms. You can now choose to have your scores considered at each SUNY college to which you apply. Check out our test optional FAQs.

Here are things to keep in mind when making your decision about whether to ask colleges to consider your SAT or ACT scores.

Test scores are helpful when they accurately represent your ability. SUNY colleges will only consider your test scores if you indicate that you want them to. So, if you believe your scores are an accurate representation of your ability, they can be evaluated along with all other materials in your application file. Whether you opt to have your test scores considered or not, SUNY colleges will conduct a holistic evaluation of your application. Unsure about what to do? Consult your school counselor or advisor about how to best represent yourself.

You will need to indicate your preference when you apply. In order to change your preference after submitting your application, you will have to directly contact the campus to which you have applied.

  • If you choose to submit results of the SAT I or ACT scores (or both). The highest scores for each section from all test dates will be considered. ESF accepts scores posted on official high school transcripts or official scores sent directly from the testing agency.

Academic recommendations are not required, but will be considered if submitted.

Students completing college level course work prior to high school graduation are considered as first-year applicants

Choose Your Admission Pathway

High School seniors may apply for admission under one of the three pathways available:

  • Early Decision First-Year (enrollment commitment required if admitted)
  • Regular First-Year
  • Guaranteed Transfer (future entry as a sophomore or junior)

The level of the applicant’s interest in ESF and the quality of their academic performance in high school will determine which pathway is most appropriate. Admissions staff members can assist applicants in selecting their admission pathway.

OPTION 1Early Decision First-Year AdmissionApplication deadline is December 1

If you are an outstanding high school senior who selects ESF as your first-choice institution and who will commit to enroll at ESF by March 15th if accepted, you may apply for Early Decision Admission. You may also apply to other institutions as a regular (not Early Decision) applicant, but you must withdraw these other applications if admitted to ESF.

Early Decision applicants who wish to apply for Financial Aid from ESF must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and any supporting information requested by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships by February 1. See the Financial Aid website for more information on financial support.

Review the Early Decision details with care to be certain this is the right option for you.

OPTION 2Regular First-Year Admission

Most high school students apply to ESF under Regular First-Year Admission. The Admissions Committee begins review of the application only after all supporting materials are received, so forward all required items as soon as possible after applying. The recommended application filing date for Regular First-Year Admission is February 1 — applications received after this date will be considered on a space available basis. Admission notifications are released beginning in March and students must reply with their intention to enroll by May 1.

Please pay close attention to application codes and deadlines for Regular First-Year admission.

OPTION 3Guaranteed Transfer Admission

Under SUNY-ESF's Guaranteed Transfer (GT) option, high school seniors may apply for admission for future transfer to ESF in either their sophomore or junior years. GT applicants are those who wish to spend a portion of their first two years of college at another institution, perhaps to become better prepared academically for the ESF program they wish to enter.

ESF has agreements with Cooperative Colleges in New York and surrounding states that identify equivalent courses for ESF lower division degree requirements and designate advisors at each campus to assist in course selection and scheduling. ESF Admissions staff members also advise students preparing to transfer, and they regularly visit Cooperative College campuses.

On your application, choose the upcoming fall semester of entry, and then email esfinfo@esf.edu expressing your interest in GT Admission and your expected future semester of entry. Successful applicants must present a strong high school academic background, including at least three years each of college preparatory mathematics and science. The recommended application filing date for Guarantee Transfer is February 1.

Students admitted through the GT program must satisfactorily complete coursework equivalent to the requirements for their intended ESF program of study with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.80 (A=4.000). Courses completed with less than a ‘C’ grade will not transfer for credit and may impact the student’s status under the GT option. GT students are encouraged to enroll at one of the Cooperative Colleges — you may attend a non-participating college, but you should consult the ESF Admissions Office for advising on course scheduling.

Please pay close attention to application codes and deadlines for Guaranteed Transfer.

Special Programs & Opportunities

Educational Opportunity Program

The State University of New York's Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) provides access, academic support, and financial aid to students who show promise for mastering college-level work, but who may otherwise not be admitted. Offered to full-time students who are New York State residents, EOP accepts students who qualify academically and economically for the program. Complete the EOP section on the SUNY Application or The Common Application to apply for EOP. More information can be found at the SUNY EOP web site.

College Credit Earned in High School or by Examination

College level course work equivalent to the SUNY-ESF program of study requirements can be transferred to the College, but grades and grade points cannot be transferred. Credit will be awarded only for those courses completed with a grade of "C" or higher. SUNY-ESF will grant appropriate college credit based on test scores achieved through participation in the College Entrance Examination Board's Advanced Placement (AP) program, College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program for which the student has achieved the approved examination score. Students who have earned college credit before high school graduation are considered first year applicants. Learn more:

Early Admission of High School Juniors

High school students who will complete graduation requirements (or equivalent) prior to the graduation of their class may apply for Early Admission. The application process and criteria for Regular First-Year consideration apply to Early Admission candidates. Early Admission candidates are also required to submit mid-year grades for their junior year and meet with the Director of Admissions, to assess their maturity and preparedness for college life, before their application will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Alternative online meeting options may be available.

Sophomore Admission to Associate Degree Programs at The Ranger School for High School Seniors

High school seniors who will complete the first year course requirements through college coursework taken in high school may apply for sophomore entry to the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree programs offered at The Ranger School campus in Wanakena, NY. The application process and criteria for Regular First-Year consideration apply to AAS sophomore entry candidates. Additionally they must have completed the majority of the first year requirements for the AAS program, including English, science and math requirements, with a cumulative grade point average of 2.80 or higher on a 4.00 scale and no course grades less than 'C'. Sophomore entry candidates are also required to submit mid-year grades, including official transcripts for all college level work, for their senior year. Additionally, they must meet with the Director of The Ranger School at the Wanakena campus or the Director of Admissions at the Syracuse campus to assess their maturity and preparedness for college experience and life at The Ranger School before their application will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Alternative online meeting options may be available.

Deferred Admission

Students accepted to SUNY-ESF who wish to defer their enrollment for one or two semesters beyond their original entry date must make this request in writing directly to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Those students will receive written notification if their request has been approved.


Students who wish to return to the College after a leave of absence (medical or military), change in educational plan, or academic and/or disciplinary dismissal, may apply for readmission through the Office of Student Affairs — readmission is NOT facilitated by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Contact Student Support to obtain information or to schedule an appointment with the Senior Counselor.

Application Filing Dates

Spring 2022

  • All applicants Recommended Filing Date: November 1, 2021

Fall 2022

  • Early Decision First-Year Deadline: December 1, 2021
  • Regular First-Year Recommended Filing Date: February 1, 2022
  • Guaranteed Transfer Recommended Filing Date: February 1, 2022
  • Transfer Recommended Filing Date: March 1, 2022

*Applications will still be accepted after this date and will be considered for admission on a space available basis.

Application Codes

SAT: 2530
ACT: 2948
TOEFL DI: 2530
FAFSA: 002851
NYS TAP: 0950

Honoring Free Expression

At ESF, we support the right of students to stand up for what they believe. Civic discourse and public engagement are essential to our academic mission. Therefore, admissions decisions are not affected by students' participation in peaceful protest associated with matters of public interest, or by disciplinary action associated with such protest.