By now, almost every person on the planet has become accustomed to using the COVID-19 acronym on a daily basis. As social isolation and even lockdowns continue, almost every facet of our lives has been temporarily affected by the coronavirus.
The biggest uncertainties with changes still remain in the longer term: will this last long, and how do we plan ahead? This is particularly relevant for students applying to US colleges and universities next year and after.
Will the ACTs and SATs be cancelled? Are colleges going to start during the winter term? Will some go online? Some of these questions do not have definitive answers, so it is important to keep reading about the situation and prepare a plan for both, the best and worst-case scenarios. We have already been working on compiling updates to some of these questions about learning online and college admissions.
But there is still much to be said about the SAT and ACT. The two tests have been around for very long, and are unlikely to disappear. But how can one plan ahead without knowing which tests dates are available? Here are a few pointers.
1. SAT and ACT Cancellations
There are some immediate changes to the standardized testing schedule for the US college admissions that are fully certain. You will not be able to sit for the SAT in May or June, and the ACT rescheduled their April test date to June.
WHAT TO DO? These cancellations, while disheartening, are not the end of the world. Some students can now stretch out their studying for the ACT and SAT, going for the test dates in June or at least in August. The important thing is to not stop studying, because the tests are not going anywhere.
2. SAT and ACT Future Test Dates: Going Online?
Many students are asking: what will happen to the test dates in June, August and onwards? As the situation is difficult to predict, worrying about further cancellations make sense. It is particularly worrying if you aim to apply in November. Note that the ACT and SAT are planning to introduce more test dates to make up for the months lost, so keep studying.
At worst, the SAT and ACT announced they are looking to move to online, home-based tests. This is why you should keep studying. Going online is the last resort for the standardized tests, so they will prioritize rescheduling new dates.
WHAT TO DO? Keep checking the College Board website weekly or monthly for new test dates. Check back in with us every now and then, as we remain committed to keeping you posted on online test policy and changes in future dates.
NEW ADDED TEST DATES: The SAT (College Board) is planning on adding a test date for every month of the year, assuming the coronavirus situation eases up. You can expect test dates not just in October, November and December, but in September and end-August too, both in the US and internationally.
For now, register for the available dates anyways, just so you keep the spot among the other students who will flock to the future test dates.
3. Will my application be at a disadvantage with testing all up in the air?
This is such a good question, as there are some students who never took the test, or are aiming to improve. Now, like much of the world, they are stuck in limbo, unsure of what this changes for their applications. The SAT is only one part of your application and schools would look at everything including your extracurricular activities, grades in school over the last year and your college essays! Would these online tests have the same rigour and quality to predict the calibre of applicants accurately? We don’t know.
It is important to understand, however, that universities are also wondering what to do, and they know how tough it can be for high school students. Some, like the University of California, have announced they will become test optional. Others, like MIT, will become test-optional for SAT Subject Tests. More are expected to follow or change their testing policy, so be patient.
WHAT TO DO? Keep working on your profile, and thinking about how you will continue your extracurricular activities. Studying is still as important too! Finally, do not drop the SAT or ACT even when some schools become test-optional: if the situation goes back to normal, you can take the tests again and stand out from the other applicants!
As the SAT and ACT include new test dates, registration will open in May, so register early. If you are a student applying next year and do not have a test score, the SAT will prioritize your registration.