Standardized Testing in Upcoming College Admissions: What Will it Look Like for the Class of 2021?

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Caroline Sanders, Reporter

Will the college application process change this year in light of the coronavirus outbreak? Well, every rising senior is probably asking that same question right now. Many are unsure about whether or not colleges will require them to submit their standardized testing scores on upcoming college applications. 

The testing dates for the ACT and SAT that were originally scheduled throughout March, April, and May were cancelled due to the current situation of COVID-19. The furthest SAT cancellation was June 6 and furthest ACT cancellation was May 2. The majority of the testing dates for this coming summer and fall are still on the calendar; however, there is speculation that those times will also be either cancelled or rescheduled for a later date. 

“The idea of applying to colleges without submitting test scores has been around for some time, but I believe the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the test-optional decision.””

— Director of College Counseling at FWCD, Kristin Larsen

As of today, most juniors are relying on the scheduled Fall ACT and SAT dates, particularly the recently added September 26 ACT. Taking the test then would allow many students to still apply early, meeting the October 15 and November 1 college deadlines. 

Current FWCD student Emi Carson ‘21 will be impacted by the decisions moving forward.

“I think that there was no other option for the College Board,” Carson said. “Given that many juniors have not taken the ACT or SAT yet, it is unfair to require them because they are all getting cancelled.”

If the standardized testing times continue to be cancelled and rescheduled, how will the college admission departments respond? Many colleges including Tulane University, the entire University of California system, and Texas Christian University have already responded to concerns. The universities have officially made the ACT or SAT score optional on all applications for the 2021 school year.

An article on TCU’s official website included statements from TCU’s dean of admissions, Heath Einstein.

TCU has never relied solely on one factor in admission decisions, and that will be reinforced while we are suspending the testing requirement,” Einstein said on the website. “We have always believed that while standardized tests provide some useful information, there is more to a student’s record that indicates how they would contribute in and out of the classroom at TCU.”

The Director of College Counseling at FWCD, Kristin Larsen, offered additional information on standardized testing for this years’ college admissions. 

“The idea of applying to colleges without submitting test scores has been around for some time,” Larsen said, “but I believe the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the test-optional decision at a number of colleges/universities that were already contemplating a move.”

Larsen also clarified that according to FairTest.org, there are over 1,160 universities that don’t require the submission of a standardized testing score from applicants. Other colleges, like TCU and Trinity University, have utilized a test-optional admission policy, thus leaving reason to believe that these changes could perpetually change how many universities review applications.