Anyone in high school prepping for college, or already in college, or headed to their ten-year reunion, can probably agree on one thing: college is scary. Making the shift from high school to college is a huge deal, let alone everything leading up to going to college. The panic of every adult asking “have you applied to colleges yet? What are you planning to major in?” The pressure to get the highest GPA and the best standardized test scores. The anxiety students feel for weeks over whether or not they’re good enough to get into their dream school. Typical senior year stress is more than enough to handle, but this year it got a whole lot more stressful.
By this point in the year, everyone has mostly grown accustomed to the new norms of living in a global pandemic. However, the class of ‘21 across the nation is now facing a new challenge—college applications plus Coronavirus. Needless to say, it’s brought a multitude of added stressors for seniors. As proved by every teen coming of age movie, senior year is supposed to be the peak of the high school experience; the upperclassmen’s chance to be the big dogs on campus. Now thrown for a complete 180, and instead of this ideal school year, students are taking classes at home, while alone in their bedrooms. This is surely unfortunate, but a much more serious issue is the cancellation of standardized tests.
As of Spring 2020, SAT and ACT test dates were rescheduled for later in the year, before the world realized how serious the situation would become. By Summer, tests were cancelled indefinitely. However, some have been rescheduled yet again for later in the year, but nothing is set in stone. With the college application window opening, many seniors are facing the fear of applying without taking any standardized tests. Some were able to get their SAT and ACT in before the outbreak, some were able to take one but not both and many did not get the chance to take either test.
Thankfully, many colleges (but not all) have been accommodating and are not requiring students to have an SAT score for their application. Nevertheless, students without test scores are still anxious about being rejected. Even though colleges may say that SAT scores are not required for 2021, they would probably help their chances of getting accepted. However, many students argue that the presence of a test score should not be the determining factor for acceptance.
“I think college admissions [should] compare students with a test and without a test equally,” senior Annie Piet said. “The test is just one part of an application: there are also essays, activities, grades, and recommendations.”
Students are hopeful that the colleges they apply to will not discriminate against students who were unable to take any standardized tests.
“I think that as college admissions continue through all this change, what they’re going to look for while going through applications also changes,” senior Jennifer Repsher said.
At the end of the day, whatever happens, happens. Best case scenario, things get safer and students will be able to safely go to school and ace the standardized tests. At this point, it’s hard to be sure whether or not that’s realistic. Things may not work out that well, but at least seniors will all be in the same boat. Chances are many students will not end up getting the chance to take the SAT, but if everyone is at a bit of a loss, the playing field is relatively even. Whether Seniors like it or not, the situation is out of their control. All they can do right now is make the most of what they can control and cross their fingers for the future.