• Bentham Admissions Team

Testing Requirements in the era of COVID-19

Updated: Jan 7

The landscape of admissions is looking quite different than it has in decades. One of the biggest impacts effecting the way colleges will evaluate students’ applications is the testing requirement.


Colleges across the nation are changing their testing policies due to COVID-19 and the cancellation of the SAT and ACT tests.

Each colleges response varies.


Some colleges have gone test blind, some have opted to go test-optional for one year, while others are going test-optional for the next three years and others are test flexible, but what do each of these options mean:


What Does Each Test Option Mean?


Test blinds means that colleges will not look at your scores even if submitted.


Test optional gives the applicant the choice of whether they submit their scores to be considered for admission.


Test flexible requires test scores but allows you to submit test scores of your choosing according to their policies.


NYU is test flexible and their requirements are at the link provided- NYU Test Flexible


While many schools around the country have been test optional for decades, in the wake of COVID-19 with a record number of schools adopting this new and temporary policy, it has left juniors unsure of what this really means.


Testing is only one piece of an applicant’s overall profile, however, it’s an important factor. Colleges want to have some way to quantitatively look at each individual student. So, how is this done in the era of COVID-19?


Students that have access to a testing center should take the SAT or ACT. They should submit their scores if they achieved a score in the competitive range for each particular school they are interested in applying to.


No Access To Testing Centers?


For students that don’t have access to a testing center or whose families have been hit hard financially due to COIVD and have not taken either test, schools will rely on AP exam scores and GPAs as an applicant’s quantitative factor.


Admissions will look at past and present AP exam scores, considering issues with AP exams this year as well. They will also look at an applicant’s course load and grade trend through their high school career.


Students that choose not to submit scores should emphasize other important non quantitative parts of their application.


Admissions consider many elements when evaluating a student’s application. These nonquantitative elements include:

  • Teacher Recommendations

  • Essays

  • Extracurricular Activities

Choosing teachers who know you well and will highlight who you are in the classroom is critical. Writing thoughtful essays to reflect what you have done and what you will do in the future are expected.


Work On Your Extracurricular Activities


Shifting one’s efforts to engage in unique activities will also prove to be most beneficial. Schools will expect to see the ways in which someone has made an impact in their community, taken advantage of online courses and virtual programs.


Independent research in ones intended field shows initiative and enhances their knowledge within their field.


All of these factors add to your application and as college admissions teams review your application holistically its vital to show them who you are outside of quantitative considerations.


It’s important to know that selective schools will continue to be selective in their application process. The absence of a testing score does not mean all schools become target schools for students.


Students must continue to focus on what schools expect to see in their students, what makes them a good fit for their college community, and for their programs.


College Admissions Impact from Covid-19


The impact of COVID-19 has caused many disruptions to the admissions process and in the world of higher education overall.


Circumstances continue to change, and decisions are being made on college campuses daily.


As each college determines its own admissions policies its best to check each schools’ websites for the most up to date information regarding any changes to the admissions process.


It's also important to check the CollegeBoard website for registration deadlines and test dates for the SAT I and II and the ACT websites for test dates.


Sources:

https://www.collegeboard.org/

https://www.act.org/

https://www.nyu.edu/admissions/undergraduate-admissions/how-to-apply/standardized-tests.html

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