Worries for the Future

Coronavirus’ effect on next year’s college applicants



Standardized testing has been put on hold as a result of social distancing guidelines due to the Coronavirus.

‘This is the most important year in your high school career.’ In anticipation of college applications next year, teachers, counselors, and parents have repeated this phrase to current juniors many times at Juan Diego, pushing them to strive for the best grades and high standardized testing scores. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed this reality for eleventh-graders across the country.

On April 16, the ACT revealed its plans for online at-home testing.

The ACT test originally scheduled for April 4 was canceled. Though the June and July national testing dates have not yet changed, the ACT announced it is going to offer at-home testing “on a computer” in the fall and winter due to the ever-changing, uncertain situation with the virus.

Despite the ACT’s efforts to preserve testing, they have not revealed their plans to accommodate students for testing who don’t have access to the internet or a computer. As a result, many colleges and universities have eliminated the ACT/SAT requirement for freshman admission for the 2021-2022 school year. Schools such as the UC’s, Cornell, Boston University, Vassar College, and all public Oregon universities have taken this action thus far.

In a statement from the University of California, “no student is harmed in admissions selection should they not submit a test score.” In another statement, UC contradicts itself saying that students can still submit standardized test scores and “Doing so can support their [an applicant’s] statewide UC eligibility, application for certain scholarships…”

In response, many students and parents have spoken out online stating that they believe schools like the UC’s shouldn’t receive standardized test scores at all so that every applicant is on an even playing field, so to speak. During these unprecedented times, organizations and schools assure they are doing their best to adjust and adapt. However, it is clear there is no perfect solution that doesn’t put some students at a disadvantage.

Junior Andrea Moreno, knows this disadvantage all too well. She was scheduled to take the ACT for the first time on April 4. Before the test was rescheduled to the June 13th national testing date, Moreno had attended a tutoring center in preparation. “When they canceled it I was disappointed and even nervous, and now I am still afraid that the next one coming up will be canceled as well,” said Moreno.

“I was counting on a good test score to submit for college applications,” said Moreno. She, like many other juniors, may not have a test score on her college applications while others will. Even though her scores may not ‘count’ at the schools she will apply to in the fall, she still wants to take the ACT if she has the opportunity to. “I think that it could still be good for me,” finished Moreno.

Junior Preston Bath, however, believes an online at-home test would be difficult to monitor cheating and it would hurt the credibility of those scores. “I don’t believe it will be worth it,” said Bath. He took the ACT last September. “I think it is justified for colleges not to take ACT scores into consideration, but it definitely will not help my quest for scholarships,” Bath finished.

“I felt that my months of preparation had gone down the drain,” Junior Kirsten Sumampong said in response to the test cancellation. She had planned to take the ACT in April to improve her score from the test she took in October. Sumampong feels relieved that some colleges aren’t considering standardized test scores. “I have never been the best test taker and I felt that my scores from the ACT and SAT do not reflect the type of student that I actually am, so this decision lifted a weight off my shoulders,” she said.

Sumampong feels conflicted though because she realizes the added “pressure on grades, essays, and extracurriculars” for admissions at schools. “This has only added to my stress because no matter how much I do, I feel like it isn’t quite enough for colleges and now that might be even clearer,” Sumampong finished.

Should colleges and universities accept standardized test scores from college applicants next school year?

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