In the normal world, now is the time when high school juniors and seniors would usually be preparing for final standardized tests, polishing their personal statements, admission essays, and other documents. But normal has been replaced with other circumstances we are facing right now.
College campuses have been closed and a high ACT or SAT score has been put on hold.
College Board, the company that administers the SAT, announced Wednesday the June 6 test administration would be canceled because of the spread of COVID-19 and the closures of schools across 192 countries. ACT, another standardized test more prominent for Southeastern students, postponed the April 4 test to June 13.
Are universities going to be test-optional now?
Cornell University is suspending its requirement that applicants submit SAT or ACT scores for next year’s admissions cycle, the first Ivy League institution to make such a move, in an acknowledgement of the upheaval the coronavirus pandemic has caused for high-school students.
Cornell said the switch is temporary and it isn’t adopting a permanent test-optional policy. This emergency guidance for applicants during 2020 does not intend to suggest conviction at Cornell that future examinations can’t help us to evaluate candidates and predict their college success.
There has been a movement toward test-optional admissions in the wake of COVID-19, including colleges in Texas, Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas, to name a few. Although there has been a surge of universities choosing to make the shift because of issues with standardized testings and financial issues on families, the movement started well before the pandemic.
College admissions numbers are expected to plummet as students reevaluate their futures because of health and financial issues in their personal lives and home. The University of Michigan is anticipating up to $1 billion in anticipated losses because of the “COVID-19 situation.” Most colleges will not have filled those first classes by the May 1 deadline, according to a piece from Robert Massa, a higher education expert teaching at the University of Southern California.
Universities that encounter losses in general admissions are trying to keep those incoming students on-track for the upcoming semesters — whether online or on-campus — and removing barriers like required test scores is one option.
Covid-19 can cause a long-lasting impact. Faculty may incorporate online tools, to which many are being exposed for the first time. These trends may not transform higher education, but they are likely to accelerate the integration of technology into it. This is something we were not expecting. But these are the realities we have to adjust to.