With schools going all online, cancelled SATs, and virtual visits replacing festive campus events, it’s been quite a year for college admissions.
But what many want to know, is whether the changes caused by the pandemic will have lasting impacts on the way universities evaluate college applications?
My answer - hopefully.
For one thing, the acceptances my students have earned indicate that colleges are more strongly considering other aspects of the application, such as essays and letters of recommendation. This trend seems to imply that, without the requirement of a test score, universities are free to appreciate the totality of a student’s application. I definitely have students who would have had a different outcome last year. But, 2020 brought them a gift – a test optional application!
On the other hand, as the world opens back up and testing becomes easily accessible again, I believe that many universities will revert back to their “tried and true” ways. Testing has historically, along with GPA and class rank, carried the most weight in college acceptances. And, I’m not sure that will go away entirely. SAT scores give perspective to grades…and vice versa. A good SAT can show potential in a student who may have not played the “GPA game.” On the flipside, a brilliant student who has test anxiety, can suffer from a poor SAT score, in spite of a stellar GPA.
This is a great experiment. Will these test-optional admittees perform at the level expected or will they have slid in under the bar thanks to 2020? This remains to be seen.
For the class of 2022, I say prepare for the SAT. Develop relationships with your teachers. Stay active. Get a job. Go to camp. Challenge yourself. No matter what, be prepared to put your best foot forward and prove that you will be an asset to the universities on your list.
I know one thing that won’t change in 2021: admissions will remain competitive.
I am a wife, mom, and educator. I love learning and helping others learn. Few things are more rewarding than helping kids find their way.