By Samuel Hofford, contributing writer

Now that COVID-19 has taken over, just the idea of applying to or attending college seems distant to some. The near future of the college admissions process looks very foggy and unclear. Many universities are facing the issue of whether or not students are going to return the following year, should they switch to test-optional school, and how will a student’s application be different having gone through these strange times? Though it is a winding road of uncertainties ahead, there is a vague plan laid out for some schools. 

When applying for colleges, one of your main priorities, depending on the school you plan on attending, is to complete the ACT and/or SAT with a high score. Now that COVID-19 has had a say in the matter, many universities plan on switching to test-optional, either for the time being or permanently. Just last week the University of California system, which includes some of the nation’s top-ranked schools, went even further by voting to phase out the tests entirely by 2025. Test-optional means that the student gets to choose whether to post their score on their resume when applying. This could be very beneficial to students who maybe aren’t so proud of their test results. Jed Applerouth, founder and president of Applerouth Tutoring Services, says removing testing from consideration shifts the emphasis elsewhere on a college application. “If we pull this piece out, other ones are going to be magnified,” he says. That being said, students may want to improve their resumes with other eye-catching details when applying. Colleges will look at your GPA, extracurricular activities, and your grades more seriously, whereas before they could have crossed a student off right after seeing an 860 SAT score. 

Now before any students get super excited about keeping their terrible scores a secret, test-optional doesn’t mean they won’t look at your test results. Applerouth continues in saying, “Students who do have strong scores are probably going to stand out a little more in this year.” Meaning that because the scoring average will be down, those who still have high scores are going to protrude even more. So, if you’re one of those select few… good job. 

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