College Admissions During COVID-19

Has COVID made the stress of applying to college even worse than you expected? Me too! However, in light of this, many universities are relaxing their application and admission requirements, as well as providing room for students to explain their COVID related circumstances, in hopes of assuaging their applicants’ uneasiness.  

The University of California and California State University systems made it known in May that they will not be requiring SAT or ACT scores for students applying to their universities for Fall 2021 admission. According to the UC website, “campuses will have the option to use ACT/SAT test scores in selection consideration if applicants choose to submit them, and will develop appropriate policies and procedures to implement the Board’s decision.” In addition to being test optional for 2021-22 admission, the UC Board’s decision includes becoming test-blind, or not considering test scores at all, for 2023-24 admission. A new standardized test solely for UC admission “that aligns with the content UC expects students to have mastered to demonstrate college readiness for California freshmen,” will also be created. Lastly, the SAT/ACT test and essay requirement will be eliminated altogether by 2025, as is said by the UC website. Many other schools, including all eight Ivy League universities, have become either test optional or test-blind for students applying for 2021 admission as well. 

In addition to removing the SAT/ACT requirement, many universities are also giving room on their applications for students who have been impacted by COVID to explain their circumstances in the form of an essay. Whether your family lost their jobs and you had to start working to help provide, or you and your family became sick with the virus, or anything else in between, colleges want to hear about it. All schools using the UC and Common Application, among others, have this option. This section is optional to fill out, but if you, your family, or your academics have been impacted by the virus, it is a good idea to let the colleges know. After all, what’s one more essay? 

The college application process was never without its stresses, but with the current pandemic, it has only become worse. Thankfully, universities have taken measures to alleviate some of the stress their applicants are undergoing, as well as provide room for them to explain their circumstances. Good luck to all endeavoring on the college application journey!