COVID-19 and college admissions: seminar recap

The campus of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, after the school moved to online classes for the rest of the semester. Credit: Sarah Rice for The New York Times

On Friday, April 24, BEEC Education’s Jonathan Ginsberg (President), Jesse Mosqueda (Senior Education Consultant), and Julie Zhu (Associate Consultant), held a seminar addressing how COVID-19 is affecting college admissions. The full seminar can be viewed on YouTube at this link.

COVID-19 has affected admissions in three main areas: testing requirements, grade requirements, and procedural changes. In the area of testing requirements, schools have adjusted their policies because of postponements or cancellations of both the SAT and the ACT. As of the filming of the seminar, the SAT is cancelled through June, and the ACT is cancelled through May. The SAT will resume in-person testing in September; the ACT will resume testing in June. However, because of the fluidity of the crisis we are facing, both exams are exploring online options in the event in-person testing continues to be unviable.

AP testing has also undergone some changes. Significantly, the test has gone entirely online. Each exam will be 45 minutes long and will comprise short-answer-style questions in which students will write out their answers. Students will take the exams at home and submit their responses electronically by either uploading typed responses or taking photos of handwritten work. These tests are open book and open note, and they will only cover material through March 2020. The exams will be conducted from May 11-22.

Testing policy changes vary from school to school, so students are advised to check each school’s updated policies or get in touch with their admissions office. While some schools have gone test optional, meaning students are not required to submit SAT/ACT scores, the more selective ones have kept these exams as requirements for admissions. Students applying to test-optional schools and who can do well on SAT/ACT should take the tests in whatever format available to them. Remember, test optional is an accommodation not a suggestion, so use this policy to your benefit if you test well.

COVID-19 will likely change the importance of certain aspects of the application. Because testing and grade reporting have introduced uncertainty and instability into the application itself, the essay will certainly carry more weight than in previous years. Will this change your chances of being accepted? We won’t know until after the application season is over and students get their acceptance letters, but changes in the application and how certain parts of it are weighted could benefit students in unforeseen ways given that schools double down on their holistic/whole-person review process.

Finally, even though most summer programs and have been cancelled and many extracurricular activities have become untenable, students have many options available to them. For example, students can conduct a structured research project, do an online internship, take an online course, prepare for standardized tests, or learn a new language. Students can also take advantage of BEEC’s own programs such as the professor research program or an internship opportunity with a local mayor. BEEC can also work with students to come up with a unique program that will demonstrate your skills and intelligence to colleges and universities.

For information about BEEC-sponsored programs, please schedule a free consultation here.  You can also email us at info@beecinc.com for general questions about the seminar or other questions you have about COVID-19 and admissions. We look forward to hearing from you!

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