Decision-Making for US College Applications: A COVID-19 post
This is the first mini-article in a series of minis focused on how COVID-19 may affect the decisions parents/ guardians and students have to make when applying to US colleges.
Decision 1: Should you be doing the SAT/ ACT this year?
Reasons to take the SAT/ ACT:
- Students have more free time to study right now than they may ever have again.
- Schools that have shifted to test-optional for the Fall 2021 intake may shift back for 2022, so students who are applying next year may still be required to take the test.
- Students who are unsure which colleges they want to attend should take the SAT/ ACT to preserve optionality. Note: some schools that are test optional for international students may still require the exam for ISPS and Maple Leaf students.
- CAPE/ CSEC uncertainty creates a situation in which the possession of other test results may create a competitive advantage for a student.
- In normal times, taking the SAT/ ACT offers more scholarship opportunities. I believe this will hold true for some universities this year.
- Taking the SAT/ ACT does not mean that you need to use the scores, so a high score is an advantage, but a low score is not a disadvantage.
Reasons to not take the SAT/ ACT:
- The past two years have seen a big push of colleges offering test-optional and test-flexible policies, particularly to international students. Because of COVID-19, more colleges than ever will be test-optional this year. The growing list includes Cornell University, the University of California colleges, and Boston University.
- The test may present a financial burden right now that can be avoided. Each test costs ~$100 USD to take. Then, there are the added costs of test prep, sending test scores to colleges, and retaking the test.
- Students who are dealing with pressure of any kind should NOT stress about these exams – what you have will be more than enough. Furthermore, universities are doing everything they can to accommodate unique circumstances.
- This may seem obvious, but if you are most likely going to study outside the US, I would consider opting out of taking the SAT/ ACT this year.
This is not a one-size fits all decision, but I would lean towards taking the exam for the reasons above. Since each student’s case is unique, I recommend that new students book one of my free 30-min consults to discuss.
This year, there will be an international August SAT exam (barring no complications) for the first time ever.
- Classes begin June 8th. The schedule, prices and registration details have been posted.
- Classes will be virtual to begin and will change depending on the climate. I have a lot of experience teaching virtually with great success, including students accepted to Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, University of Virginia, Amherst College, University of North Carolina, and more.
- I will offer a series of options, ranging from free to regularly-priced classes, so that students experiencing financial difficulty because of COVID-19 can still benefit from IvyEdge guidance.
- Classes will be over a longer period of time and will be smaller than my typical classes of 10 students each. I want any students who decide to take the SAT this year to see a significant improvement over three months, with the hope that this is the only time they will have to take the exam.
- Classes will be more driven towards SAT plus general knowledge, so that students will be better equipped to deal with college coursework and college writing.
- As always, IvyEdge Global will provide all classwork and homework material to students.