After the transition to quarantine in the beginning of March 2020, many SAT and ACT testing dates were cancelled, resulting in many colleges turning to test-optional. With the new policy, many colleges, particularly highly-selective ones, had an increase in applicants and a decrease in admission rates.
The test-optional policy continues to remain for current seniors, which shifted the focus of students’ applications from test scores to transcripts, letters of recommendation, extracurriculars, and the personal essay statement. The school counselors were able to come together in seeing how the college applications process came into play with changes in their policies.
“The admissions process this year seemed to be more competitive at certain campuses. We are assuming this was due to the change in admission policy regarding standardized testing,” school counselor Devin Vergo said.
The obstacle of SAT and ACT scores being removed allowed many students like senior Ashley Fung to take advantage of this.
“I started worrying [about] not be[ing] as qualified as other students for my top choice schools,” Fung said. “Although I thought I had fair chances in one school with a higher acceptance rate, I ended up getting waitlisted while I got into other ones with a lower percentage rate.”
Every year, the college application process changes, as each new senior class is different with unique circumstances. However, with the pandemic’s substantial change in the process, many future seniors have been anxious about what their experience will be like.
“The best thing to do is to ensure that you have a broad range of schools on your list. You should have some very competitive schools [if you’re interested], some schools that fall within the average range of your GPA, and at least one safety school,” Vergo said. “The Cal States give local high school seniors priority, so for SGHS students, Cal State LA is often their safety school. [However,] we are expecting to learn more about this at the UC and CSU counselor conferences in the fall.”