“Until the pandemic, scores from one test or the other were required by more than half of U.S. four-year institutions.”
By Amber Dance
Clara Chaplin had studied. She was ready. A junior at Bethlehem Central High School in Delmar, New York, she was scheduled to take the SAT on March 14, 2020. Then the pandemic hit, and the test was canceled.
The April SAT was canceled too. All through the spring and summer and into the fall, every test date she signed up for was either full or canceled. As she submitted her college applications on November 1, she still didn’t know how she’d score on the SAT she finally would manage to take on November 7.
Many students never made it through the test-center door; the pandemic left much of the high school class of 2021 without an SAT or ACT score to submit. Facing test access challenges and changing application requirements, about half did not submit scores with their applications, according to Robert Schaeffer, executive director of the nonprofit National Center for Fair & Open Testing in Boston. This didn’t bar them from applying to the nation’s most selective colleges as it would have in any other year: Starting in spring 2020, in a trickle that became a deluge, the nation’s most selective colleges and universities responded to the situation by dropping the standardized test score requirement for applicants.
Liberal arts colleges, technical institutes, historically black institutions, Ivies — more than 600 schools switched to test-optional for the 2020-21 application season, and dozens refused to consider test scores at all…
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