May 01, 2020
BY GERALD M. BRADSHAW
Bradshaw College Consulting
Dear Mr. Bradshaw,
We have a son who will be a high school senior next year. He is currently at the top of his junior class academically, has an impressive list of extra-curricular activities and sports participation and hopes to attend an elite college.
We have heard that, because of the pandemic, SAT testing procedures have been altered and admissions offices are scrambling to embrace a virtual
mode of outreach. We had intended to visit some of schools on his “wish list” this summer.
What are your thoughts?
Colleges SAT/Testing Optional Due To Pandemic
Dear Anxious Parents,
The COVID 19 Pandemic has upended higher education to be sure. Spring 2020 semester classes have moved online, campuses are deserted and admissions personnel are working remotely.
For many colleges, March and April are when the bulk of acceptance letters for the fall semester are mailed. Financial aid packages are sent out as well. College Decision Day for the upcoming year has always been May 1. That is the day that high school seniors must choose what college they will attend and submit a deposit. Many colleges have extended the deadlines to June 1.
As far as your son’s plans for college admission a year from now, he needs to be aware of changes in the schedule for SAT tests.
The May SAT test has been cancelled and the SAT and SAT Subject Tests have now been cancelled for June 6. If it is safe, SAT tests will be administered every month through the end of the calendar year beginning in August. This includes a newly scheduled test in September. Your son may register for these test dates beginning this month. Check the College Board Web site for information in this ever-changing environment. If he is already registered for June he can get early access for August, September and October.
Advanced Placement (AP) tests will be given online without multiple-choice questions. The shortened exam will be free response, requiring thought and analysis. Check their Web site for current details.
As of this date college leaders are making the difficult decision about when to reopen their campuses this fall and how to do it. This varies widely from school to school and most prospective student visits are off the table for now. High school juniors are frustrated with tour cancellations but they can still gather information virtually about their decisions while maintaining social distancing.
While college admissions offices may be closed, their staffs continue to work hard to provide students with information to help students make informed decisions. Some schools are scheduling Zoom appointments with prospective students and online campus tours.
A recent Scoir College Network survey of 2,201 students and their parents reported that 80% of juniors and 84% of parents felt that campus visits are very important or extremely important in the college selection process. Likewise the survey indicated that two in five juniors said that delays in standardized testing will make them look more closely at “test optional” colleges.
We have no idea how long social distancing policies will last but rest assured colleges are doing their best to adapt to the “new” normal.
I suggest that your son schedule and study for his SAT’s as he would normally and that he keeps up-to-date with admissions information on his college choice list on a regular basis.
Gerald Bradshaw is a top US college admissions consultant with Bradshaw College Consulting.
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