SAN ANTONIO – The COVID-19 pandemic has created chaos for school students of all ages, including those applying to college.
Since SAT and ACT testing centers are closed or have altered in size and scope for COVID-19 regulations, colleges are making big changes.
Many colleges across the nation have waived test score requirements as part of their application process. Submitting scores is now optional for those schools.
“We started seeing students having challenges getting into testing locations, (so) we made the decision to waive the test score requirement for the remainder of last year’s cycle. So, that really benefitted a lot of students,” said Lynn Barnes, UTSA Administration Strategic Enrollment Senior Vice Provost.
Barnes said that change has been extended for this next application cycle at UTSA as well. He confirmed the decision is not mandated by the University of Texas system, and that each institution is able to make its own rules on the subject.
“We’re just trying to be as flexible as possible. A lot of my colleagues across the state and nation are doing the exact same thing,” he said.
That’s true at public and private universities.
Trinity University in San Antonio created a test-optional policy for admissions and scholarships in April that will stay in place for the next three years.
“Testing has always been a secondary factor. We tend to place more emphasis on the cumulative GPA combined with how rigorous a student’s chosen curriculum is in high school,” said Trinity University Dean of Admissions Justin Doty.
Barnes said the same is true for UTSA, but it’s still developing that new scholarship process.
Either way, Barnes and Doty give the same advice for students and parents: over communicate. Keep contacting colleges in advance to find out their current protocol.
This is a fluid situation so there’s no telling when things will return back to normal.
For some schools, it’s possible it never will.
Colleges across the nation are discussing whether standardized test scores should be included in the admissions process.
“I feel like everything’s on the table at this point,” Doty said. "That was one of the main reasons we adopted the 3-year policy is to gather data and have three enrollment cycles of data, and then after that three years we’d be able to make a more informed decision about policies moving forward.