High School Seniors And College Admissions


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Rising high school seniors should take a look at the advice in this article.



While it is true that the current COVID-19 pandemic has thrown quite the curveball in the year for high schools and colleges which has left many administrators, educators and students uncertain about their next moves, there are some steps that rising high school seniors can take to plan ahead for college applications:

  1. Learn how your preferred colleges and universities have changed their ACT and SAT policies.
  2. Find out how your preferred colleges now count AP and IB scores.
  3. Do not just wait until you think uncertainty may clear up. Start preparation this summer!

(1) Learn how your preferred colleges and universities have changed their ACT and SAT policies.

Many colleges and universities, including many of the country’s best institutions, are changing their standardized testing policies due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For example, Cornell University has made the ACT and SAT optional components of its 2020-2021 application cycle. These changes, according to school officials, will help maintain fair admissions standards for students facing “economic and personal disruptions” that have been caused by COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Other top higher education institutions—such as the University of California system, which includes top public universities such as the University of California Los Angeles and the University of California Berkeley, and the University of Pennsylvania—have made the ACT/SAT optional.

Not all colleges and universities are adopting the new policy.

As a rising senior, make sure to find out if your prospective colleges and universities are modifying their ACT/SAT requirement. This can help you find out how to prepare for the year ahead and whether you will abandon or continue with your test prep efforts.

(2) Find out how your preferred colleges now count AP and IB scores.

The International Baccalaureate program and The College Board—the organizations responsible for administering AP courses, AP exams and the SAT—have had to make difficult decisions in wake of coronavirus. Both organizations have changed their exam policies for 2020: The IB canceled its end-of-year tests and The College Board offered abridged versions of its AP exams.

Despite IB end-of-year assessment cancellation, the IB still plans to confer final course grades and diplomas. The IB is now using an algorithm to help determine student’s final grades.

The changes to the AP and IB procedures may influence the way in which some schools evaluate AP and IB student scores. For instance, Princeton University requires incoming students to take placement tests in order to assess subject matter knowledge in certain areas, even if the students earned a top score on the 2020 AP exam.

Find out how your prospective colleges and universities are handling modified AP and IB exam procedures. Wherever applicable, consider how changes might affect the course of summer. For instance, whether additional test prep may be necessary.

(3) Do not just wait until you think uncertainty may clear up. Start preparation this summer!

It is always tempting to procrastinate, and it may be more tempting than now as uncertainty continues.

Colleges and universities are still planning to operate normally in 2021 as they did before the pandemic. This means that, although there may still be uncertainties ahead, high school seniors will most likely have to continue with the college application process as planned for the fall.

How can you fight the urge to procrastinate?
Set reasonable deadlines for yourself and keep them in place where you will be reminded of them often, such as on your phone or perhaps on the wall in your room. You can hold yourself accountable by involving friends or family members who can check in with you about your progress.




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