On September 15, Expert Admissions co-hosted a webinar entitled, “College Admissions + Testing Updates for Fall 2020.” The webinar provided tips for families of high school students embarking on the college application process as well as advice on standardized testing.
The following updates and highlights were shared regarding to standardized testing:
- Students have been able to take the SAT and ACT in August and September. Though some dates and testing locations are still being cancelled, space and opportunity are opening up.
- Even though many schools for this upcoming application cycle are test-optional and some schools have always been test-optional, for some students it still makes sense to send scores if you have scores that are competitive for a certain school.
- This may be the end of SAT Subject Tests! Schools that have typically always required them [for example: Caltech + MIT] are no longer requiring them. In fact, Caltech is test-blind for Subject Tests…permanently!
- In May, California’s UC system announced that they would be phasing out the SAT and ACT from their admissions process in a few years. Recently, however, a court decision mandated that the UC system cannot consider SAT or ACT scores this year. The UC system is currently appealing the decision, but it’s very likely that there will be big changes to the UC application review process this year.
- For high school juniors, it’s business as usual. Focus on earning amazing grades, participate in extracurricular activities, and work on getting your best test score possible before next fall.
With regard to the overall application process, here are some highlights of what was discussed:
- As much as things have changed for this upcoming application cycle, a lot remains the same.
- While there are some exceptions [Princeton, University of Michigan, University of Virginia], admissions offices have not changed application deadlines.
- Generally speaking, current high school juniors should plan to test next spring and they should submit scores on the high end of the testing range for test-optional schools.
- It’s true that you still cannot visit many schools and take an official campus tour, [you can at Tulane and a few other places] but you can do virtual tours. You can also follow and engage with college and university social media accounts, and you can reach out to an admissions officer for a virtual chat.
- You may even be able to visit a campus near you on your own — drive or walk around, talk to students who are on campus.
- Colleges and universities haven’t seen huge numbers of deferrals due to Covid and as such, they haven’t indicated that their enrollment goals are going to change significantly for the high school class of 2021.
- The main college essay or personal statement remains an extremely important part of the application process. This is where a student truly gets to share their own voice and what they care about.
- We recommend not talking about Covid in the main essay, as you can do so in the Covid-specific question that the Common Application added this year.
For support on how to reduce stress around the admissions process, essay writing, or testing advice, please reach out to Expert Admissions for more information.