With spring and early summer test dates canceled for the SAT and ACT, we continue to expect a huge demand for the next several test dates for both exams. While many colleges are offering test-optional policies for the class of 2021, we strongly advise students to provide test scores if possible. Students who need or plan to take any of these tests should register as soon as possible to ensure their seat.
Here’s the latest on the SAT tests for summer and fall:
The last national ACT was administered in February. ACT canceled their April test, but as of this writing, they were planning to proceed with the June 13 test if local testing centers are open, meaning some students might get to take the test but most likely will not take it. The current list of closures lists all of the test centers in Montgomery County and many more across Maryland. Here’s what we know about your future opportunities to take the ACT this year:
How Optional Is Test Optional?
This is the $100,000 question. Hundreds of schools have announced that they will implement some form of test-optional policy for the class of 2021, some for 2022, and others schools have announced they will go completely test optional. As if students did not have enough confusion to deal with, the University of California system announced a plan to abandon the SAT and ACT requirements for in-state students while it develops its own test, but it will keep them in place for out-of-state students for now. And then you have other schools, like local-favorite University of Maryland College Park, who have not budged on their requirements at all, meaning those prospective Terps who lack the necessary scores will face some pressure to meet the preferred early November application deadline.
You should also be aware the definition of “test optional” differs by school and often within a school (say an engineering versus business). With so many policies changing, we feel it is imperative that students check the admissions pages for their target schools regularly to confirm what actual leniencies the schools are offering. Also know that most schools who are adopting test-optional policies encourage you to submit scores if you have them since it gives them a known metric to compare applicants. Schools also gain by expanding their applicant pool, either by increasing their reject rate or by potentially filling admissions slots that might go unfilled in this uncertain year. (Link: Read about what college admissions might look like this fall).
Here are the current policies for a sample of local schools:
University of Maryland: No announcement yet; priority early action application deadline is November 1, allowing few opportunities for students to test/retest and have scores. An SAT or ACT are normally required for the application.
Towson University: Has said it does not plan to be test optional for the 2021 admissions cycle and encourages applicants to take a test in the fall.
University of Virginia: No announcement yet, and also has a November 1 deadline for early application.
Virginia Tech: Will be test optional for applicants for in fall 2020 or spring 2021. Has said applicants will not be penalized for not submitting scores.
Our advice is to take at least one test (SAT or ACT) if you get the chance. Every school will still accept the score, and it can be a differentiating metric for your application in a year where many others will decide not to submit it. Many scholarships, aid applications, and other financial programs also require a score, limiting your options for paying for school if you cannot provide one.
With the continued uncertainty, we recommend having a plan that looks at your probable application deadlines and work backwards to plan your test prep based on the likely dates. Once you have this plan, get registered for your target test immediately. These test slots will be more coveted every day the situation extends and application deadlines get closer.
Get Ready This Summer
Everest is offering our SAT and ACT prep classes in one-week courses in July and August. These focused classes provided a great value for students needing to prepare for the upcoming summer and fall tests. Seating is very limited. Contact us today to reserve your seat.
Ready to get started? Private tutoring is available seven days a week to meet your schedule. Call us to get a customized plan for your test prep needs.