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ACT Breaking News College Board COVID-19 Juniors SAT Seniors

Oops!…They Did It Again. More SAT and ACT Issues

You’d think that after a spate of SAT and ACT cancellations because of COVID-19, the College Board and the ACT would pull out all the stops to ensure that high school students – especially current juniors – would face no obstacles in rescheduling their exams for July, August, September, and October.

You’d think leaders of these two mammoth companies, keenly aware of the numbers of colleges and universities waiving testing for students applying to college this fall, would do everything in their power to avoid losing even more market share at a pivotal time.

Instead? Turmoil and greater uncertainty for juniors who did not complete their admissions testing before May (i.e. most of them).

COLLEGE BOARD: SAT TEST CENTER CANCELLATIONS & TECHNICAL WOES

Last week, the College Board attempted to reopen registration for students who registered for spring 2020 testing and who have no SAT scores. A crush of students and families – clearly the result of pent-up demand among anxious juniors and their parents – tried to register but were met with technical failures. We were hearing from our students one after another that they were sitting at their computers for hours and could not log on. This comes on top of the glitches with the online AP exams that resulted in thousands of students not being able to submit their exams and having to take the exams again in June.

Today, the College Board announced that it is canceling plans for an online, in-home SAT. As noted in the Washington Post, an estimated 1 million high school juniors this spring who do not have an SAT score were blocked from taking the test because of testing-center cancellations. They form a large share of college-bound seniors in the Class of 2021. The College Board hopes to expand capacity in the fall, but how much that will offset this spring’s testing turmoil remains unknown.

SAT ACT frustration

ACT: FEWER TEST CENTERS OPEN

Meanwhile, over at the ACT, a change in CEO ensued and the organization sought to cut its costs by having fewer test centers open this June and July. Fewer test centers – and more social distancing in those that do open – means that students will face uneven access to the ACT this summer.

The ACT is prioritizing Class of 2020 seniors who need the ACT for scholarship applications and admissions decisions and juniors in the Class of 2021. According to the head of a test prep service, only 33% of testing centers are scheduled to open in June and July. As Jed Applerouth noted to Inside Higher Ed, “Students will be disproportionately affected across the country. No students in Massachusetts will be able to sit for a June ACT. In Wisconsin, a single test center of the 107 scheduled will be open. In New York, the state hardest hit by the pandemic, a mere 15 of their 203 sites are open,” he wrote. “States with fewer than 10 percent of sites open include New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Wisconsin.”

UPDATE: June 18ACT is postponing section retests to allow for more students to take the full ACT test.

TIPPING POINT

Have we reached a tipping point? Today, over 1,200 four-year colleges and universities either do not require the SAT/ACT or have waived the requirement for the Class of 2021. We predict that more colleges and universities will move to test optional policies for the Class of 2021 because of the extraordinary stress and uncertainty many now face.

So, should juniors try to take the exams? If you are planning to apply under an early decision or early action program and were able to secure a seat for June, July, August, September or October, then yes. Use time this summer to prepare and do you very best on the exams. You’ll get the results of these exams before the vast majority of early deadlines. Even schools who’ve waived testing for this year will still take note of strong scores on your admissions application and they will strengthen your application.

And do check out schools who have gone test optional for this upcoming round of applications, and those schools who have been test optional including, Bates, Bowdoin, Bryn Mawr, Bucknell, Cornell, and Dickinson.

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College Enrichment Program coronavirus COVID-19 Graduate Admissions Seniors

College Enrichment Program: Maintain Your Scholarly Focus

You are asking and we are listening.

We’ve been flooded with inquiries from parents whose college aged kids are home and unclear how to maintain their scholarly focus. Hopefully everyone is heeding the social distancing mandate, but with time on your hands you CAN take action.

CLASS OF 2020 SENIORS AND CURRENT COLLEGE STUDENTS

This month has NOT gone to plan for you with the multitude of closings, cancellations coupled with the move to virtual learning for almost all students due to COVID-19. We’ve spoken with students in the U.S. and internationally who were hurriedly ushered off their campuses, have received little academic guidance as their courses flip to online formats, are unsure how to arrange backup summer plans, and are seeking to ensure their academic, research foundation and overall college (and eventual grad school) plans don’t fall off track.

You don’t have you do it alone!….

CONSIDER OUR COLLEGE ENRICHMENT PROGRAM

Dr. Kristen Willmott​​ will help ​students​ sharpen an academic area, define a clear research-based foundation, and take tangible steps to demonstrate scholarly achievements at the college level. Even better, our College Enrichment Program is fully virtual so no coronavirus concerns. Consulting is done via email, phone and/or Skype/Zoom and sold in 5-hour increments. 

Our program includes:

  • Personalized College Enrichment Action Plan
  • College Course Selection Guidance (including summer online courses for credit)
  • Identification of Unique Academic and Research Opportunities Customized for You
  • Recommendations and Assistance with Appropriate Fellowship, Scholarship, Internship, Conference Presentation & Publishing Opportunities
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae Guidance/Editing

You lost important access to your on-campus academic, college, internship, and research advisors  –we are here to fill that gap. Contact us today to learn more. Limited availability.

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ACT Admissions college admissions College Board Ivy Admissions Ivy League Admissions Juniors Seniors Standardized Testing

Admissions in the Time of COVID-19

*UPDATE* *UPDATE* *UPDATE* 

“As a service to students and families, NACAC is providing this online tool as a central resource for information about changes in college admission events, deposit dates, and more as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.” –NACAC

 

As we all adjust to the new realities of our day-to-day lives and follow the guidance of our public health officials regarding Coronavirus, we’ve pulled together some helpful tips and suggestions for students regarding college admissions in the time of COVID-19. Whether you’re a high school senior waiting for admissions decisions, a junior whose SAT was just canceled, a college student back at home, or any student now home and starting virtual schooling, our tips below will have helpful suggestions for you.

COVID-19 IMPACT ON HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

SENIORS

March is always a busy month, with colleges releasing their admissions decisions to thousands of students across the country and around the world. At this time, we anticipate that admissions decisions will be released as planned, but April programs for admitted students have been canceled at most schools.

At this critical time, colleges will use all social media tools in their arsenal to connect with accepted students. Plans for virtual events for admitted students are being developed as rapidly as possible. Seniors, check your email and other social media platforms regularly for updates from the schools on your list.

Some schools have already announced that they will push back the May 1 Common Reply Date to give seniors more time to review their options and finalize their matriculation decision. Check in with each of the schools to which you have been accepted to see their policy on this.

JUNIORS

The college cancelations came as many of you were planning spring break visits to campuses across the country. There are still plenty of ways to connect with the colleges on your list—and those schools will definitely want to connect with you (as soon as they finish the admissions decisions for the current seniors).

Now’s a great time to sign up to be on the mailing list for every school you’re considering (go to their websites). This will not only show your demonstrated interest, but will also give you access to any unique ways schools are showing off their benefits remotely. Share your email address (if you haven’t done so already) and you’ll get updates on virtual admissions information sessions, campus tours, and other programming targeted to juniors (and younger students). Many colleges are giving prospective students access to their online classes, since they aren’t able to visit and sit in on a class. Check with all the schools on your list.

March and May SATs cancelled. In response to the rapidly evolving situation around the coronavirus (COVID-19), the College Board is canceling the May 2, 2020, SAT administration. Makeup exams for the March 14 administration (scheduled March 28) are also canceled. Registered students will receive refunds.

The College Board will provide future additional SAT testing opportunities for students as soon as feasible in place of canceled administrations. We’ll be as flexible as possible to give students the best chance to show their skills and stay on the path to college. We have not yet canceled the June 6, 2020, SAT administration and will continue to assess its status with the health and safety of students and educators as our top priority.

Follow the College Board’s announcements here.

The College Board is finalizing options to allow students to do AP Exams at home. More details to follow by March 20. Follow the College Board’s updates on the AP Exam here.

ACT canceling April tests. ACT has rescheduled its April 4 national test date to June 13 across the U.S. in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). All students registered for the April 4 test date will receive an email from ACT in the next few days informing them of the postponement and instructions for free rescheduling to June 13 or a future national test date.

Use the extra time to continue your test preparation. We know you worked hard to prepare for the spring tests, but like a competitive athlete or dancer, stay in shape by keeping up with your prep (especially since you will have extra time on your hands). Our tutors are here to help you, and they have always worked virtually so no germs and plenty of brains!

CORONAVIRUS & COLLEGE STUDENTS

For the graduating Class of 2020 and current college students, this is a very unique spring. Not only are on-campus graduation ceremonies in question, but access to staff, faculty and on-campus academic and extracurricular resources have gone out the window for thousands of students. We are here to help and our College Enrichment Program (for current high school seniors and any college students) can help you ensure a scholarly college experience. High school graduates need to plan to hit the ground running this August and college students who have recently lost access to key academic, research and grad school/career advising from their universities need to maintain their strides, but now on a virtual setup. Help your senior or college student stay on track this spring and summer in terms of academic advising, research foundation guidance, and post-degree planning, including grad school. A Personalized College Enrichment Action Plan from us plus one on one video consulting, included with this program, will propel your spring and summer 2020 forward.

ALL STUDENTS

A global health crisis can also be a great learning opportunity. We’re watching a public health emergency and global responses play out in real-time. In mid-February, the Imperial College London launched a free class on the Coursera platform: Science Matters: Let’s Talk About COVID-19. Are you fascinated by the mathematical modeling that predicts the progression of the virus and how social distancing and other efforts “flatten the curve”? You can take UNC’s online course, Epidemiology: The Basic Science of Public Health, or Johns Hopkin’s online course, Data and Health Indicators in Public Health Practice. Both are also available free of charge on the Coursera platform.

With schools across the country closing for a period of weeks, high schools are moving to virtual or remote learning. Since the traditional school day has been disrupted, we encourage students to take advantage of the time to deepen your learning and find ways to help those in your community who may be struggling.

Some ways to leverage your time:

  • Take advantage of online courses on platforms like Coursera, EdX, MIT’s Opencourseware, Yale’s Open Courses and check out this link to 450 online courses you can take at Ivy League schools for no cost. Deepen your interest easily through these free online opportunities.
  • Use this free time to boost your writing abilities so that you can return to school on a stronger footing! Our writing counselors, like our SAT and ACT tutors, work with students virtually, so you can use this time to get safe, effective help with your work!
  • How about entering your work in writing, history, computer science, math modeling, and art contests? Since these can all be done remotely, this would be a great time to stretch yourself and submit your work. We have compiled a Contest Guide for our students, but you can research and find so many on your own.
  • Start a virtual art and literary “magazine” for your classmates or younger kids or senior citizens in your community. Encourage them to post stories, poems, artwork, and music all composed in this time of social distancing.
  • Can you create and post instructional or “how to” videos on YouTube for younger kids? Create a virtual homework club and offer it to a local library. Offer to help homebound younger students with their lessons.
  • Launch a virtual PE class with your friends. Challenge yourselves with competitions you can do at home – pushups, sit ups, jumping jacks, etc. Organize a virtual dance party. Get creative!

CARING FOR YOUR COMMUNITY

Most importantly, look for ways to help those in need in your community. Check in regularly – via Facetime or phone – with your grandparents and older relatives, as well as older neighbors and others in your community. Is your community seeking volunteers to help keep food banks stocked? Can you volunteer to pack meal kits? If your older college-aged siblings are home, can you work together to deliver meals and supplies to those who are homebound?

During a pandemic in 1665, Isaac Newton had some time on his hands after the University of Cambridge sent students home. He called the year he spent away from school his “year of wonder.” It was during that year that he famously saw an apple fall from the tree in his garden and came up with the ideas around gravity.

The bottom line: as you practice social distancing and good hygiene, you can continue to stretch yourself academically and make a positive impact in your community. Who knows? You may discover new passions and hidden talents!

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COVID-19 Related Closures: Impact on Colleges and High School Seniors

*UPDATE* *UPDATE* *UPDATE* *UPDATE*

As of today, on-campus activities for prospective students have been canceled at these schools, but DAILY other cancellations are happening and it appears that most every state is closing all schools. Assume you will not have revisit days or info sessions/tours. Please scroll down for additional updates on testing cancellations.

UPDATE April 15, 2020 from CollegeBoard:

The June 6, 2020 SAT and Subject Test administration is CANCELED.

UPDATE March 24, 2020 from CollegeBoard:

Free, live AP review courses available beginning March 25, 2020.

Daily schedule for 32 courses

UPDATE March 19, 2020

Students in England and Wales learned yesterday that the UK government had taken the unprecedented step of canceling this summer’s GCSE and A Level exams because of COVID-19. Instead, students due to sit for these exams this May and June will be awarded a “fair grade” to recognize the work they have done thus far in their coursework.

For sixth-formers (equivalent to U.S. high school seniors) applying to U.S. universities, your predicted A-Levels marks have already been sent to colleges, so your U.S. college decisions won’t be negatively impacted. However, information has yet to be shared with students and families about how the cancelation of these exams will impact admission to UK universities.

This will be tough for UK students in Year 11 since U.S. admissions offices rely on GCSE scores. They do have your mock GCSE results from December/January but those may not be as strong in all cases. The question of how a “fair grade” will be determined will be addressed by UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson this Friday.

Regardless, with extra time on your hands now, we strongly suggest that UK students planning to apply to U.S. universities next year sit for additional SAT subject tests – especially if you can squeeze one or two into your schedule this June.

Students seeking to sit for the TOEFL exam will find cancelations at test centers worldwide. Coronavirus-related closings and postponements can be found online here.

UPDATE March 16, 2020 from CollegeBoard:
May 2020 SAT administration canceled

“In response to the rapidly evolving situation around the coronavirus (COVID-19), College Board is canceling the May 2, 2020 SAT administration. Makeup exams for the March 14 administration (scheduled for March 28) are also canceled.” Click through the CollegeBoard link above for the full information.

UPDATE March 16, 2020 from AP Central Update:

“The AP Program is developing resources to help schools support student learning during extended closures, as well as a solution that would allow students to test at home, depending on the situation in May. Additional information will be posted by March 20.”

UPDATE March 16, 2020 from ACT:

“The safety of students and test center staff is ACT’s top priority. ACT has rescheduled its April 4 national test date to June 13 across the U.S. in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). All students registered for the April 4 test date will receive an email from ACT in the next few days informing them of the postponement and instructions for free rescheduling to June 13 or a future national test date.”

Are you planning on visiting colleges over spring break or later in the spring semester? Seniors, are you hoping to attend the college preview weekend for your dream school later in April? Are you scheduled to take the SAT or ACT in March or April? Before heading out, check the websites of colleges and universities on your list for updates on COVID-19 related closures.

COVID-19 RELATED COLLEGE & UNIVERSITY CLOSURES

Campus Tours and Information Sessions

Prospective students hoping to visit colleges this spring should check the website or call the admission office before heading to campus. As of today, on-campus activities for prospective students have been canceled at:

 April programs for admitted students

As of today, the following schools have announced that all on-campus programs for admitted students this April have been canceled:

SAT and ACT Test Centers PLUS Major UK Test and TOEFL Exams Latest Cancelations

For the most up-to-date information on exams scheduled for March and April, the best option is to regularly check the College Board and ACT registration pages. Here, you’ll find information on what to do if your test center is closed.

FURTHER UPDATES

As we know, the situation with COVID-19 is a fluid and fast-changing one. Be sure to regularly check university and testing websites to stay abreast of most recent developments regarding closures or travel restrictions.

Know of any other closures? Let us know in the comments.

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Deferral Insider Tips Seniors Top Tips

Top Tips If You’ve Been Deferred

As December slips by, many schools are releasing their Early Decision I and Early Action decisions. Psssst…. We have the most up to date release information here. For students who are accepted or rejected, these results are pretty clear-cut. Some students, however, will face a less definitive status: deferral.

WHAT BEING DEFERRED MEANS

Being deferred can be likened to Rudolph’s Island of Misfit Toys –not knowing exactly where you fit or if you fit at all. In theory, deferrals are fairly straight forward. When a school postpones making a decision about a student’s application until the regular round, that student is deferred. Students can be deferred for any number of reasons:

  • a spike in the number of early applicants
  • scores below the expected level
  • a desire to see fall semester grades or the results of recent standardized tests
  • low level of demonstrated interest
  • vague or no academic extras outlined on common app

It’s also not uncommon for students to receive “courtesy deferrals” (rather than rejections) if their families are well-connected at that particular college or if they are a legacy or have a sibling at the school.

SILVER LINING

Unfortunately, schools ultimately don’t accept many of the students they defer. As a rule of thumb, most schools accept only 5-10 percent of deferred students. And though early round admission rates are much better than regular they are still extremely competitive. For instance, Harvard accepted 895 out of 6,424 to their Class of 2024, reflecting a 13.9 acceptance rate for their binding early action round. Typically, the regular round acceptance rate hovers around just 3 percent! In UVA’s first early decision round since 2006, admittance to the Class of 2024 was offered to 749 out of 2,157 students, which represents a 35 percent acceptance rate. Last year, just 23.8 percent were admitted during the regular round for the Class of 2023. Brown accepted 800 out of 4,562 early decision applicants to their Class of 2024, representing a 17.5 percent acceptance rate. The regular round acceptance rate last year was 5.17 percent. No matter how you shake it, the admissions competition in the early rounds is tough but it’s even tougher in regular.

BUT, if you are deferred, there are still plenty of things you can do to increase your odds of admission during the regular round. If you do nothing, however, chances are your results will be an ultimate denial. We’ve laid out some action items for deferred students below. 

college admissions waitlist deferral

TOP TIPS IF YOU’VE BEEN DEFERRED

As soon as you receive notice that you have been deferred:

  1. Bring up your grades. As we’ve said before, grades are the most important factor in admissions decisions, so you’ll want to finish the fall semester with the strongest grades possible. If your senior-year grades are weak, we recommend cutting out all extra activities and focusing on improving your academic performance.
  2. Retake subject tests if needed. If you had any sub par scores, now is the time to send in higher scores. Basically, if nothing changes, the result won’t either.
  3. Seek out awards, competitions, or high-level extracurricular activities in your area of interest.Colleges want to see concrete evidence of your accomplishments and your continued passion for your field. After strong grades, additional accolades and impressive projects are the next most important element to prove your strength as an applicant.
  4. Ask your guidance counselor to call the admissions office on your behalf. During this call, your guidance counselor should express support for your application and also find out any information he or she can about why you were deferred. Were items missing from your application? Did the school see a huge rise in applicants from your state?
  5. Ask one of your senior-year teachers to write a letter of support on your behalf. If you’ve spent the semester doing research with a college faculty or working in a lab, it would also be appropriate to get a letter of support from your faculty mentor. Make sure to stick to one recommendation only, though! You don’t want to overwhelm the admissions office.
  6. If you have any contacts at the school that might be helpful to you (e.g., trustee pals, fundraising connections), reach out to them now.

By mid-January (or whenever first semester grades come out), submit the following materials to the admissions officer covering your area:

  1. A one-page deferral letter that includes:
    • A note about your strong fall semester grades, as well as any new awards, scores or honors you’ve received
    • Updates on your interesting extracurricular activities or accomplishments
    • One paragraph detailing why this school is still your first choice. Be precise about why you love the school and what you would add to its campus. This is a crucial paragraph because it allows admissions officers to see your passion for the school and to envision you as part of the student body.
  2. An updated school transcript that includes your fall-semester grades
  3. One letter of support from a senior-year teacher, if applicable

KEEP IN MIND

Some things to keep you mind as you go through this process:

  1. Do advocate for yourself, but don’t become a pest. It’s okay to send a deferral letter to the admissions officer covering your area; it’s not okay to stake out his or her office for the next few weeks.
  2. Come up with a back-up plan in the event that you are not accepted to your top school during the regular round. What other schools are on your list? Have you considered an ED2 option?
  3. Don’t let a deferral erode your confidence. Remember, you’re a smart, talented student with a lot to offer, and there are many schools (maybe even this one!) that will ultimately accept you because of it.

If you’re still confused by the deferral process or struggling to figure out how to improve your application, feel free to contact us. We’re here to help!