Dear High School Class of 2021:
Wow. In addition to all spring semester activities and athletics being canceled (including junior prom, if your school has one), and on top of schools pivoting from in-person classes to distance learning online, now the College Board has officially canceled every SAT scheduled for the spring semester. What should you do now? How will college admissions be affected? You no doubt have lots of questions. Let’s try to address a few of them here.
1. When’s the next time I can take the SAT?
The next time the SAT will be offered is August 29, 2020. College Board has also announced that it will add a new test date in September—though it hasn’t said exactly which date yet. You also still have the October 3, November 7, and December 5 test dates available to you. You can start registering for these test dates in May. Again, College Board has not said exactly when in May, but try May 1st and keep trying thereafter. Elite anticipates that the August test date will be especially in high demand this year, so register as early as possible. If you wait too long to register, you’ll be driving a long way to your testing center in the fall because all the ones close to where you live will fill up quickly. College Board has also announced that students who were previously registered for the June SAT and students in the class of 2021 who do not yet have an SAT score will be allowed to register early for these tests. If this is you, look for an email from College Board with further instructions.
2. What about the ACT?
As of this writing, the June 13 and July 18 test dates are still on the schedule. However, since College Board has already canceled the June SAT, we at Elite feel it’s likely the June ACT will be canceled as well. This is just a guess, but it’s an educated guess. The July 18 test is more likely to happen, given that it’s more than a month after the June ACT, but even the July test is questionable. Also, there are a lot fewer testing centers open for the July test. You might have a hard time finding a July ACT testing site close to where you live. After the July test, there are ACT test dates on September 12, October 24, and December 12.
3. Is it true that the SAT and ACT are optional now?
For some colleges and universities, yes. If you are a current high school junior (class of 2021), then yes, the SAT and ACT are optional on the University of California application. The California State University system has also made SAT and ACT optional for the class of 2021. Other schools that have made the SAT and ACT optional for the class of 2021: Tufts University, Vassar College, Loyola Marymount University, Tulane, and Pomona College. Swarthmore College has made the SAT and ACT optional for the class of 2021 AND the class of 2022. Pitzer College and University of Chicago went test-optional a few years ago, long before the Covid-19 crisis. However, most private colleges have not made the SAT and ACT optional, and the UC and CSU systems have only made it optional for current juniors. Current sophomores (class of 2022) and younger might be required to take the SAT or ACT as part of their application to UC and CSU.
4. Should I still take the SAT or ACT if I’m class of 2021 now that they are optional at all these colleges and universities?
Yes. A good score on any optional test (for example AP tests, which are also optional) will only enhance your academic profile. Moreover, since they are optional, an average or below average score will be neutral, not negative, on your application. Reporting an SAT or ACT score when it is optional is a no-lose situation. Definitely take them.
4. Is it true that I can take the SAT or ACT online now?
It’s been reported that College Board, which owns the SAT, and ACT Inc. are working on online versions of the test for fall 2020. However, the online versions are being planned only as a fallback option, in case the fall test administrations cannot take place in person.
All of us at Elite are here to help during these difficult times. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local branch to get advice and answers to any questions you may have about testing or college admissions.
Stay safe and sound, everyone!