Now recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the novel COVID-19 virus has had widespread effects—including many challenges and changes for students preparing for college. With standardized tests on the horizon, organizations are taking action to ensure that students around the globe can still safely take their tests.
So far, ACT and the College Board (the administrator of the SAT) closed test sites for March, April, and May. And the College Board canceled tests in more than 15 countries impacted by COVID-19, including China, Italy, and South Korea. Here’s what these organizations are doing to overcome the challenges brought about by the coronavirus.
The ACT was shut down in China for the tests on February 7 and 8. As the situation continues to progress in the United States, the ACT has made the decision to postpone the April 4 test in the US, pushing it out to June 13. The ACT will continue to monitor the outbreak and may close more sites and reschedule more dates if required. You can find updates directly from the ACT here.
More than 120 US testing sites for the March 14 SAT have been closed. On March 16, the College Board announced that the May 2 test date would be canceled as well. While students are being given the option to take the test at an upcoming date at no additional charge, it may be months from now. Update 4/15/20: College Board Has Canceled the June SAT and May Offer a Remote Test in September
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At this time, it’s unclear exactly how these closures will affect students taking the exams, or if more SAT and ACT sites will be closed in the upcoming months. Students should check their emails and the official ACT and College Board websites to get more information on cancellations and rescheduling their exams.
For students unable to take the exam at all, considering test-optional universities might be a good solution at this time. Many schools don’t require their students to submit an SAT or ACT score when applying and take a more holistic approach when it comes to admission. However, international students will still need to prove their English-language proficiency through the IELTS or TOEFL exams.
It’s quite clear that COVID-19 is impacting us on a global scale. How large of an impact it’ll have on students applying to US universities in 2020 remains to be seen. For now, keep your heads up, and keep going about your college search. You’ll still get there—you just may need to take an alternate route!
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