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How the Pandemic is Affecting Testing & Competitions

In these chaotic times, there’s at least one thing seemingly everyone can agree on: the world’s response to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus has redefined our daily lives. As we continue to adjust to our “new normal” during this time, it’s important to stay updated on changes in testing like SAT/ACT, AP Exams and academic/extracurricular competitions since these scores and awards are heavily scrutinized during the college admission process. We’ve rounded up some of the most important updates that have been made -- check them out, and let us know if they leave you feeling like you need some extra guidance.



SAT/ACT


If you registered for the March 14 and/or May 2 SAT, CollegeBoard is canceling and refunding those tests. Although times are uncertain and future plans are somewhat unpredictable, CollegeBoard hopes to resume testing on June 6, 2020.


With growing anxiety and stress surrounding testing and how the coronavirus will affect the college application process, CollegeBoard states that they are “committed to being flexible and innovative to give all students opportunities to test as soon as the situation allows…[and] if, unfortunately, schools cannot reopen this fall, we're pursuing innovative ways to ensure all students can still take the SAT this fall.” We assume that CollegeBoard is looking to make SAT testing accessible online, but just what that might look like isn’t clear yet.


ACT is taking similar precautions as the SAT. They have rescheduled the April test date and will email all registered students informing them of postponement and further instructions and flexibility to sign up for free future scheduling. As of right now, their earliest test date is June 13, 2020.



For more information and updates, make sure you’re staying on top of the official website for each test: SAT Updates / ACT Updates


Fortunately, to accommodate the rapid changes in education along with concerns about student equity, many -- though not all! -- colleges have pledged that they will make the SAT and ACT optional for Spring 2020. This means that SAT/ACT scores will not be required or will be temporarily suspended during this time. Currently, about 1,000 schools have joined the list of schools to drop standardized testing from admissions requirements for 2020, but it’s unclear whether these practices will stick in the future.





A few important things about these “test optional” policies: first, keep in mind that not every school has yet declared themselves test optional for this admissions cycle. You’ll definitely want to check in regularly for updates from any college you’re interested in.


Additionally, just because you don’t have to send an SAT or ACT score to a school doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t send your scores! We’ll have a blog post coming soon with more info about when you should and when you shouldn’t elect to send your test scores to “test optional” colleges.



AP Exams


Suddenly facing a full slate of online classes? You’re not alone. In response to schools closing, CollegeBoard has changed the 2020 AP Exam test dates and developed tests that students can take at home this year. They have changed the format, curriculum covered, the timing of the test and test date to help students receive college credit despite the crisis.


  • AP Exams will take place online from May 11 to May 22.

  • There will be 3 AP Tests scheduled per day.

  • Except for Exams requiring portfolio, all AP Exams will be 45 minutes long and only consists of Free Response Questions.

  • The exam will only cover approximately 75% of the AP curriculum to accommodate the shortened instruction time.

  • For courses that require Portfolios (three AP Art and Design courses, AP Seminar, AP Research, and AP Computer Science Principles), CollegeBoard has extended the deadline until May 26, 2020, 11:59 PM

  • The AP Seminar and AP Computer Science Principles assessments will not include an end-of-course exam this year.


For students that cannot take the test, CollegeBoard is issuing refunds. If a student has registered but cannot make the test on the day of the test, they are able to make up the test in June. If the student does not take the makeup test, CollegeBoard has stated that they will issue a refund at that time. So you’ve got options here!


You’ll definitely want to stay informed about any new updates by paying close attention to the College Board’s official website: AP Exam Updates



COMPETITIONS


Unfortunately, many competitions are just going to be canceled. We know this is especially disappointing for you juniors, many of whom were counting on having this last opportunity to accomplish some dazzling things. (That’s why it’s so important to stay busy at this time -- see our blog post from last week!) Here are some details about the ways that specific competitions are handling things this spring.


UIL: UIL (UNIVERSITY INTERSCHOLASTIC LEAGUE) is still monitoring the situation and modifying contingency plans based on the federal guidelines. As of April 3, 2020, they have decided to extend suspension of all UIL activities until May 4, 2020.


DECA: DECA Inc. announced on March 13 that the 2020 DECA International Career Development Conference in Nashville and the Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference in Atlanta will be canceled. They will not reschedule due to the uncertainty of the situation and will suspend all competitive events for this school year.


FBLA: FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) competitions are handled at a state level, but most states have canceled events due to concerns.


ACADEMIC DECATHLON: All national Academic Decathlon is canceled for the 2019-2020 school year.


HOSA: HOSA (Health Occupations Students Association) has canceled all in-person State Leadership Conferences (SLC) but is encouraging states to organize and operate virtual SLCs. You’ll want to make sure to check out your state’s plans!


Science Olympiad: Tournaments are canceled until further notice due to travel restrictions and safety guidelines.


I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but COVID-19 has not only changed all of our day to day lives but also limited your opportunities and experiences that would’ve helped you to stand out in the college admissions process. Understandably, colleges will take this into account when reviewing applications, but without test scores, awards and honors to bolster your resume, quality essays and applications are now more important than ever! They will be the greatest tools in your arsenal to help you stand out and make an impression at your dream school.


Eureka counselors can help you navigate the college admissions process during these tough times and help you stand out above the competition! Set up your free consultation today to talk to us about how we can help.



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