SAT tests canceled? Here’s what you should do
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to close schools and cancel extracurricular events, the coming year ahead holds major changes for high school students. The higher education landscape for juniors in particular looks quite rocky, especially after the news broke of both the College Board (the organization behind the SAT) and ACT canceling testing dates through May.
Naturally, these cancelations have juniors worried, as they now have fewer testing dates to get the scores they need to apply to their top colleges. Students are now faced with the possibility of taking the ACT or SAT in the midst of senior exams and early decision deadlines.
So what do these cancelations mean for students who were counting on the tests for their college applications?
Watch Test Sites
First, students should closely monitor announcements regarding rescheduled dates, checking the official ACT and College Board websites and also closely monitoring their email as test centers continue to close.
According to a statement made on March 16 by the College Board, “The College Board will provide future additional SAT testing opportunities for students as soon as feasible in place of canceled administrations. We’ll be as flexible as possible to give students the best chance to show their skills and stay on the path to college. We have not yet canceled the June 6, 2020, SAT administration and will continue to assess its status with the health and safety of students and educators as our top priority.”
Testing sites will likely fill fast once centers are re-opened, so watch these websites closely to give yourself the best chance to get the score you want.
Explore Test-Optional Colleges
Students are encouraged to evaluate what the test cancelations mean for their individual college plans and use this time to refresh their college lists. Students that don’t always excel at standardized tests can use this time to look at colleges that do not require them. Juniors in particular should monitor the admissions news tool provided by the National Association for College Admission Counseling to have easy access to the latest updates on deadlines for each college.
2019 saw a huge movement of schools deciding to move test-optional, and this quarantine has pushed more colleges to take the plunge. Some of these schools are merely dropping the SAT or ACT requirement, while others are stating that they will not review a test score even if one is provided.
More colleges each day are deciding to become test-optional, adding to an ever-growing list including top schools like Case Western Reserve University and the University of Chicago. As of spring 2020, there are over 1,000 test-optional colleges in America. These are the best test-optional colleges in America in 2020. To stay current on the list of schools making the move to test-optional, follow the updated list at FairTest.org.
It is important to keep in mind that these test-optional schools still have to have some measure to evaluate merit, so more emphasis may be placed on your grades and activities. Spend this spring and summer ensuring that your resume is filled with relevant extracurriculars and that your grades are solid.
It’s also important to keep the financial impact of test-optional schools in mind. It is difficult for colleges to assess merit without a test score, so many test-optional schools still require test scores to consider you for a merit scholarship. Take this time to do your research on your college list carefully if your education is dependent on receiving financial aid beyond need-based awards.
Many students are asking how they can maximize their time at home while social distancing, and one of the best ways is to study. Students should use this time to study diligently for whichever standardized test they planned to take to make the most out of their delayed chances to test. Colleges for this coming fall may be pushing back deadlines for requiring test scores to allow students more time to take the tests, or they may drop their minimum score thresholds—things are still up in the air.
In order to facilitate this season of studying, the Khan Academy has continued to offer free online resources on their website. Their courses include classes and full-length practice tests to help students prepare while their school-based practice courses remain closed.
The best advice for students to follow is to study in advance and be prepared for the test as soon as they are able to register again.