What Does COVID-19 Mean for 2020 College Applications?


How will college applications change after Covid-19?

Cynthia Schneider, Staff Reporter

Every student knows how this COVID-19 situation is affecting seniors, with the harsh truth that they will have no graduation ceremony, no “real” last day of school, and no prom. Despite this, Juniors also have their own problems now that most school and summer events are cancelled for the next few months. This is essentially the time for many Juniors to start thinking about college seriously, so this summer is probably the most important for Juniors’ college application process. This is where you can add more extracurriculars and accolades to your application, gain new experiences, and overall prepare for the months long college admission process. There have been numerous updates from colleges on how they will address these circumstances in regard to next year’s college admission cycle in regard to SAT and ACT, subject tests (for a select number of colleges), spring semester grades, and more. While some believe that this situation makes it easier for students to get into higher level colleges, the admission process will stress upon fewer factors because students have limited amounts of time to take the SAT and ACT in the coming months.

The SAT scheduled for June and the ACT scheduled for April were cancelled, and other dates have not been officially confirmed. ACT is still offering national test dates on June 13th and July 18th, but it is still “TBD” on whether or not those may be cancelled. Collegeboard did indicate that in the unlikely event that quarantine lasts until Fall, that they will offer the SAT digitally just as they have done with the AP tests this year, which will still grant test takers college credit despite the changes. Moreover, due to all these changes many are asking how colleges will interpret their applications in the coming months. Many have even switched some of their required policies from earlier years. It seems as though due to the limited amount of test dates some top tier schools have decided to make SAT Subject Tests optional, but continue to make SAT required and are sympathetic to changes in grades during this Spring semester. For local Florida public colleges, little information has come out, but I contacted FSU admissions about how they view this situation and the changes that come along with it. They indicated that “FSU is working to determine an appropriate course of action to maintain the high standards of our academic program.” But further information on other Florida colleges, like FAU and UCF on their admissions process has been already documented on their websites. The University of California (UC) schools have decided that they will eliminate the SAT and ACT from their determining factors for applicants. Calmatters.org states  “In a historic move likely to have national repercussions, the University of California Board of Regents voted today to stop requiring students to submit college-entrance tests the SAT or ACT for admissions purposes. The vote was a unanimous 23-0.” This decision comes at a time when the SAT and ACT are more difficult to access although it appears that the UC system was leaning this direction for other reasons. 

Nevertheless, even with all these changes in Juniors’ summer plans and extracurriculars for college there are still other ways to help your application process during the summer at home. These include taking an online dual enrollment course at PBSC or FAU and most importantly you can start the college application process way earlier once they release essay prompts as well as the other parts of the applications. Some students do plan on applying to a lot more colleges than the average, so this allows for more time to really flesh their applications. It is also recommended that you do a lot of college research to fully understand where you want to go, what are your safety schools, what are your reach schools, and what majors and tracks you could possibly be considering. Also, many schools are now offering online college tours, so that is always an option if you are unable to attend one due to the coronavirus, especially if this continues into Fall.

Overall, it is safe to acknowledge that the coronavirus has impacted each grade level in different ways for their future and the experiences they may be missing out on due to this pandemic. However, there are always ways to take this situation and make it beneficial and fun for yourself now as well as your future.