students wearing masks

College Applications During COVID-19

You may have heard that the SAT and ACT (standardised tests required for entering into most American colleges) June exams are cancelled due to public health restrictions.

Both exams have announced they would offer online, at-home formats of the examination in the coming fall if in-person testing remains unfeasible.

Given these testing cancellations and school closures worldwide, some US colleges and universities have adjusted their admissions policies as a response to this public health crisis. Cancelled examinations likely mean some applicants may not have a standardised test score to submit along with the applications.

Although test scores are often a crucial component of the application, many schools have decided to drop the SAT & ACT scores from fall 2021 admission requirements as a sympathetic response to students who may not have access to testing before application deadlines. Among these test-optional schools include elite universities such as Cornell, University of California, Amherst College, Boston University. You can see the full list of schools with test-optional policies here.

Furthermore, selective schools such as Columbia and Pomona have released statements that suggest leniency for future applicants in areas where affected by the physical restraints of the coronavirus. For example, participation in extracurricular activities, adjustments to online learning, reduced activities during a time of social distancing.

Some of you might be wondering if test scores are optional and there’s more leniency on extracurricular activities, what are the implications on how applications are decided by the admissions office – especially for selective schools?

This could mean that all the other components of an application just became much more important. Course rigour and grades from Junior year / Year 12 / Form 5 become key representations of academic capabilities; a well-written, insightful Personal Statement could highlight individual attributes beyond the resume; positive recommendations from teachers and counsellors would reflect your intellectual curiosity that standardised tests simply cannot; knowing a school well and demonstrating your fit to it speaks volume.

College applications alone could be manifold. With a global health crisis added on top, navigating through the process would require more resilience and support. Educational consultants such as Apply Ivy could provide the individualized advice, resources, and the stability to build a clear academic roadmap for your child.

Apply Ivy will host free webinars in May to share more about how students can stand out in this changing environment. Registrations are now open, you can sign up here.