Will COVID-19 Restrain Applicants from the SAT?

On the eleventh of March, it was proclaimed that COVID-19 is a worldwide pandemic. Currently, the illness has taken over 4,000 lives. The virus has forced the authorities to carry out quarantine uncompromisingly, implement restrictions on traveling, and close borders. These necessary actions have an impact on different aspects of life, including education.

Students from all over the world are at a loss as both the SAT and the ATC tests have been postponed. On the website of the College Board, the March tests have been announced to be canceled because of the ban on traveling and school shutdowns in affected areas. People in over fifteen countries, including Italy and China, are suffering.

According to the College Board, more testing venues are ready to be shut down, considering the latest news about the consequences of the pandemic and quarantine restrictions. By the way, the College Board will fully refund all fees. Furthermore, students from abroad will be allowed to reschedule their tests for the nearest dates.

The ATC has been canceled in China with an option to reschedule it for the nearest testing dates at the beginning of April without additional fees. The organization claims that more exams will be rescheduled if the current situation remains unsolved.

Those in the US who have an upcoming ATC/SAT are advised to visit the official websites and attentively check their email for further information on the testing dates. As of today, over 120 testing venues have been shut down, with notice and alternatives mentioned for students.

Laron, whose son’s testing venues were shut down just a day prior to the test, is disappointed and confused. In an email, Laron commented that the situation was not completely fair for every student. Some have been lucky to pass a test in alternative locations. Others, like her son, have been left with no solution to their problem. Her son’s only option is to pass this critical text in June, months after the completion of the preparation course and during his finals. Lots of families are forced to drive many miles and spend more money because of that.

The pandemic will surely influence the number of students from abroad enrolled for the 2020/2021 academic year. Mostly, Chinese students’ chances for enrollment are highly limited. For instance, due to the precaution against the spread of the disease, the registration for tests has been canceled for students from China.

Over a third of undergraduates from abroad are Chinese. Thus, universities count on applicants from China. The intercontinental epidemic restrains students from passing the necessary tests.

The vice president for global strategies at West Virginia University is concerned about the financial side of the shortage of Chinese students. William Brustein stated that the current circumstances would be a blow to universities, especially to those colleges that depend mostly on education seekers from China.

NACAC urges colleges to adapt to the conditions. The association suggests that colleges should adjust deadlines. Nevertheless, recommendations are not mandatory, and each university is free to make its own decision regarding this issue. Students are recommended to contact the chosen institutions directly.

The influence of the decrease in the number of enrolled students from abroad remains unclear. The current situation resembles the admission year of 2003. Due to the SARS epidemic in 2003, the number of accepted Chinese students dropped by 4.6%. The reduction in the number of enrolled students from abroad is inevitable, but the question “how many” remains unanswered.

The solution for those who are disadvantaged by the consequences of the pandemic is to apply to institutions that do not require the SAT or ATC. Test-optional schools require applicants to prove their proficiency in English with a test like the IELTS or TOEFL, but the SAT or ATC is not needed.

The vice president of campus life and inclusive excellence at American University and the former president of the Association of International Educations Fanta Aw stated that the 2020 cycle would be a stern challenge for admissions and international students.

Now it is clear that the outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic will be abundant. Nonetheless, the level at which academic schedules of international and US students are affected is still unclear.

Source: Forbes.com