07 Apr AIM CORONA INFO CENTER: Latest Admissions, Testing and College Updates

Illustration by Mai Ly Degnan from NPR

It’s no secret that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought some devastating and confusing news for college bound high school students – especially those in Grade 11 or Lower 6. With school closures and the discouragement of large gatherings, otherwise important aspects of the college application process have been put on pause indefinitely. Campus visits have been cancelled, admitted students weekends have been cancelled, standardized testing has been put on pause and other high school terminal exams have been altered significantly.

Through all of this we want to keep you as updated as possible on all the alterations and cancellations that COVID-19 has brought so far:

JUNE 8: USA Today releases this statement – “it’s important to note that “test optional” does not mean “test blind.” Though students who do not submit a test score to a test optional school will not be disadvantaged when colleges evaluate their applications, the applicants who submit favorable SAT or ACT test scores will have an advantage. Favorable test scores support and corroborate strong transcripts — they are one more piece of evidence that can help an applicant make a case for admission.”

JUNE 4: UPenn has suspended the standardized test requirement for the Class of 2025 (college start date in Fall 2021).

JUNE 3: Dartmouth College and Columbia University have suspended the standardized test requirements for one year. These changes will only affect students vying for a spot in the Class of 2025 (college start date in Fall 2021).

JUNE 3: College Board has temporarily suspended registration for the SAT for countries outside of the US due to an increase in suspicious ‘bot’ activity that is clogging the registration system. They are looking to resolve the issue and re-open registration as soon as possible.

JUNE 2: College Board announces that they will postpone plans to offer an online version of the SAT to offer in-home given that they acknowledge the difficulty that many students may have in maintaining a 3-hour uninterrupted video-quality Internet connection.

MAY 22: The IRCC (Immigrations, Refugees & Citizenship Canada) announced that it will be accepting incomplete Study Permit and Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) applications.

MAY 15: Ryerson University becomes first university in Toronta to declare that all classes (if not all) will be held online for the Fall 2020 semester.

MAY 12: Common App announces it will be adding a COVID-19 Essay in the Additional Information section of the application. Read more about this and other Common App essay writing tips HERE.

MAY 11: College Board announced that the June SAT Sitting in cancelled but new SAT dates for Fall 2020 have been added – including August 29 and September 26.

APRIL 23: Two students have sued Columbia University and Pace University after seeking partial refunds on tuition and fees in response to being denied in-person classes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

APRIL 22: Students seeking to enroll at Cornell University beginning in August 2021 can submit their applications without including the results from ACT or SAT exams.

APRIL 20: The College Board and Benefits Data Trust have created a chat bot to help students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA since workshops have been closed due to the coronavirus.

APRIL 18: For students in Canada, the IRCC has announced that if your in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, your eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program will not be impacted. This applies to any student who has a study permit or who has been approved for a study permit for a program starting in May or June 2020 but are unable to travel to Canada due to travel restrictions. International students may begin their classes online while outside Canada and may complete up to 50% of their program while outside Canada if they cannot travel to Canada sooner.

APRIL 17: College Board announces that if the Coronavirus pandemic persists into the fall, it is preparing for an online, at-home offering of the SAT that would implement technology that monitors movement and sound of possible cheating activities and also locks down access to other sites on the Internet during testing.

APRIL 16: It becomes public news that college students are eligible to collect federal relief funds under the provision of a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package that was passed last month. $12.5 billion dollars should be allocated to more than 5000 colleges in the United States and the law requires each school to pay at least half of the money it receives directly to students in the form of “emergency financial aid grants”.

APRIL 16: UPenn becomes first Ivy League college to drop the SAT Subject Test requirement for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. They are encouraging other Ivies to do so as well.

APRIL 15: CollegeBoard has cancelled the SAT and SAT Subject Test sitting slated for June 6, 2020. The ACT has also made some drastic changes that will take form starting September 2020. All tests will be administered online at select locations (not yet identified). The ACT will finally allow for “superscoring” if you take it more than once. Additionally, if you have taken a complete sitting of the ACT since 2016, you may choose to retake individual sections rather than taking the entire exam again.

APRIL 13: Tulane University has dropped its requirement for standardized testing for applicants planning to matriculate to college in Fall 2021. As of right now, this will only be in place for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.

APRIL 10: Boston University is the first to announce that if public health officials deem it unsafe to open its doors for Fall 2020, the physical campus will remain closed until January 2021.

APRIL 6: Williams College moves to a test-optional application requirement for standardized testing for students applying during the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. This goes for both incoming first-years and transfer students.

APRIL 4: Nicole hosted a Zoom webinar about how COVID-19 will affect Financial Aid, especially for international students and incoming freshmen of the Fall 2020 and 2021 cohort as well as future applicants. For more info about the opportunities available for your student, book an initial consultation here.

APRIL 1: The University of California group of schools announced that admissions requirements for students will be relaxed. This includes going test optional for the Fall 2021 admissions period. Letter grade requirements for courses completed in the first half of 2020 will also be suspended for incoming students for Fall 2020 to accommodate pass/fail grading.

MARCH 31: Over 300 schools across the United States announce an extension of their enrollment deadlines to June 1 or later. However, close to 500 schools are keeping their May 1 deposit deadline – some of which include high profile names like NYU, Boston University, UCLA, USC, Duke, UChicago and more.

MARCH 30: Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, at least 17 colleges have dropped the SAT or ACT requirement for admissions for at least one or two admissions cycles. The University of North Carolina System also approves new admission standards effective for the next 3 years in light of COVID-19.

MARCH 28: AIM Counselors, Nicole & TJ, hosted a Zoom webinar to update students and parents about the effects of COVID-19 on College Applications. All questions presented by attendees were answered by the counselors. The full webinar is available here.

MARCH 27: Take home testing is made available for students taking the GRE and TOEFL.

MARCH 26: The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) announces policy decision to administer online multiple choice exams in July for all CSEC and CAPE subjects (with the exception of French, Spanish, Portuguese, Human and Social Biology and the Visual Arts – additional components will be required). Final grades will be determined by the common online multiple choice exam, the SBA/IA or Paper 3 (the SBA alternative for private candidates).

MARCH 25: Boston University announces test-optional policy for students applying to Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters. University of Oregon announces the same for students applying for the Fall 2021 semester.

MARCH 24: Tufts University announces experimental test-optional policy for a 3 year period starting with applicants for Fall 2021 semester.

MARCH 23: IB exams scheduled for May 2020 have been cancelled. Students will be awarded a diploma or course certificate based on Internal Assessments, External Assessments (coursework) and predicted grades.

MARCH 21: MCAT exams scheduled for March 27 and April 4 have been cancelled and reschedule fees has been waived. All students registered for the March LSAT will be automatically rescheduled for the April 25 sitting.

MARCH 20: The UK Department of Education announces that all exams scheduled to take place for Summer 2020, including A Levels, O Levels, GCSEs and other qualifications alongside all primary assessments have been cancelled. The April 2 and 4 international ACT test dates have been postponed to June 13 and 14. Additionally, MIT announces that they will no longer consider SAT Subject Tests as a part of the application process starting with students applying for admissions for Fall 2021.

MARCH 18: Case Western Reserve University announces test-optional policy for the class of 2021 in response to test cancellations due to coronavirus.

MARCH 16: College Board announces the cancellation of the May 2 SAT exam. The ACT announces its postponing of the April 4 exams to June 13.

We will continue to update you with new developments as best as we can. Please be in contact with schools of interest to inquire about virtual tours or online information sessions. Continue to show demonstrated interest, develop your extracurricular profiles in creative ways and stay on top of your academic responsibilities!

As always, AIM is here to help parents and students to fulfill every child’s wildest college dreams! Book an online consultation with us now and help to flatten the curve while also getting ahead in your college prep journey!