SAt / act in 2020?

As a high school student now trying to apply to college, we all face a similar situation due to COVID-19: should we take the SAT or ACT? 

Because of the Global Pandemic, the College Board and American College Testing organizations, creators of these standardized tests, asked colleges for the upcoming year to be sympathetic to high schoolers and acknowledge that most of the testing sites are temporarily closed and the tests canceled. Two-thirds of all four-year colleges and universities accepted this request and made their college admissions either test-optional or “test-blind,” otherwise referred to as Test Free. Based on this, all of the University of California (UC) schools and California State Universities are either test-optional or test free. In fact, the University of Southern California (USC) dean of admission, Tim Brunold, said, 

“When we say we’re test-optional … we are test-optional. We’re not going to secretly judge students who don’t submit test scores” 

Tim Brunold, Dean of Admission USC

when he realized people were still skeptical about the idea of optional tests really being optional. The obvious question is, how are colleges accepting students? The answer is it depends on the college. Some colleges like the UC and California State schools are paying more attention to one’s overall Grade Point Average (GPA) and assessing students purely on that and extracurriculars. Because of this, colleges are recommending taking more difficult classes in school and, if needed, using a tutor’s help. While the college systems recognize how the current pandemic shakes people’s lives, families, and grades, College applications are adding questions about how COVID affected one’s personal lives in order to understand more about why something looks the way it does on a transcript. What if this is hard though, and, as a top student, you want to express yourself well? If you are going to a test-optional school and you are able, take the SAT or ACT and see if you do well. If you do, test submissions are still allowed, but if not, as Tim Brunold said, optional means optional. Other colleges that are harder to get accepted into are having their own admission tests provided by the university as well as taking the optional SAT/ACT testing if it’s not a test free school. Colleges want to remind people not to panic because students did well pre-COVID, and even if our grades and extracurriculars are suffering now, they were not a year or two ago.

What does this mean for the future, though? In May of 2019, parents, students, and underprivileged people sued the College Board, American College Testing organizations, and universities because they were considered racist and discriminatory. The lower class of America argued that while their sons and daughters took the SATs and ACTs, they were not being accepted into as good of colleges as the higher class. They argued that because they are underprivileged and their family structure is shaky without a proper parent figure at times, they do not have the money or capabilities into getting their children a good high school or tutor;  therefore, they felt it was discriminatory to accept the higher class people into better colleges and not the lower class as well, even if they did not do as well simply because they couldn’t. Then COVID hit and paused the lawsuit.

After COVID-19 ends, the question across America right now is how will college admissions and entrance exams be taken to avoid this whole fiasco and not result in them being sued? Only time will tell the answer.

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