Here are a few updates on where things stand with college admissions tests and moving into the school year. I'd also love to hear from you about what's on your mind and heart when you think about the upcoming school year.
As we approach the 2020-2021 school year, if you or someone you know is looking for online academic support for a student, please feel free to reach out. I provide academic support to students as young as the fifth grade.
In the first weeks of the COVID era, I shifted my fee structure to choose-what-you-pay. I am grateful to work with wonderful families whom I trust to reimburse me as best they can. This pay system is still in place.
In this blog post from March 2020, I shared advice on how to effectively work from home.
Here are some articles I've found informative on the topic of reopening:
"Children and the virus: As schools reopen, much remains unknown about the risk to kids and the peril they pose to others." The Washington Post. August 10, 2020.
"New York Is Positioned to Reopen Schools Safely, Health Experts Say." The New York Times. August 7, 2020.
"When Will Schools Reopen?" New York Magazine. Updated August 7, 2020.
"How to Reopen Schools: What Science and Other Countries Teach Us." The New York Times. July 11, 2020.
"School openings across globe suggest ways to keep coronavirus at bay, despite outbreaks." Science Magazine. July 7, 2020.
More Colleges and Universities are Test Optional
More schools than ever are making SAT and ACT scores optional in the upcoming admissions cycle. "Test optional" means that while students may submit scores to be factored into their applications, students are not required to do so. Some schools have extended these changes beyond the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.
The following lists comprised by FairTest.org contain colleges and universities that will be test-optional in the upcoming admissions cycle.
This first list includes 660+ schools, organized according to their US News and World Report rankings.
The second is a master list of 1,300+ 4-year colleges and universities that have made the SAT and ACT optional for the upcoming admissions cycle.
Communicating with College Admissions Offices
To understand each individual school's policies, first research the school's admissions website. Then, reach out to the admissions office if you have questions that are not covered on its website. Checking the information on the website before contacting an admissions office enables you to ask your question from an informed place.
Using my alma mater Georgetown University as an example, here is the main university admissions page, here is a page on COVID-19 updates for prospective students, here is the updated policy on testing requirements, and here is a contact page.
Connecting with an admissions office will not only clarify your questions, but also heighten your "demonstrated interest," a factor many college admissions officers consider when evaluating applicants.
Always be polite, kind, and respectful when communicating with the admissions office. Admissions officers will be fielding lots of questions. If you haven't received a response to an inquiry within a week or two, send a follow up email,
An example of how you might phrase an email or phone question:
From your website, I see that [fact that they have posted that relates to your question but doesn't answer it]. However, I'm unsure about [your question]. I appreciate any clarification you can provide.
From your website, I see that [school] is making SAT and ACT scores optional this year. However, I'm unsure about how you will be considering the scores that are submitted. Should I use the IQR from previous admissions cycles as a guideline, or will you be expecting higher scores than usual because the policy is test-optional? I appreciate any clarification you can provide.
From your website, I see that [school] requires all test scores if students submit test scores, but also that you are test-optional this year. If I have the opportunity to take the SAT, will you require me to submit that score, or may I decide not to submit any scores with my application? I appreciate any clarification you can provide.
If an admissions officer or other college representative is especially helpful to you, you might consider writing a thank you card and sending it in the mail. This also supports the post office!
The SAT and ACT are Still Happening
The College Board's testing schedule for the upcoming school year can be found here.
The ACT's testing schedule for the upcoming school year can be found here.
Here is a PDF from ACT with information on preparing to take the test online.
Here is an article about the at-home version of the ACT from the Star Tribune.
In June, the SAT postponed plans to allow students to take the SAT at home. I've linked to an article from the New York Times.
Information about school reopening and admissions policies will vary. But leading with conscientiousness is always a good plan—especially given how stressful this pandemic is for most people.
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Information on Choose-What-You-Pay Sessions can be found here.
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