How will no standardized test scores impact applications??
Since coronavirus has cancelled a lot of SATs and ACTs and a lot of schools are allowing students to apply without those test scores, I was wondering how application will be impacted by that. I know that's a loaded question, I guess I was just wondering where they are going to be looking elsewhere in the application to make up for the lost information of test scores? Any thoughts?
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I think applications with tests will definitely be prioritized with most other things being equal. While people with great ECs and good grades will still have good chances, test scores will be beneficial for those who have them because they're the same across the board. Schools don't know whether your AP Calc teacher phoned it in and everyone got As or if they were actually a good teacher. But they do know what test scores mean. This is probably more important for top schools who need as much proof of academic ability as possible. Harvard's statement gives a good view to how elite schools might view testing: "We know that there are fewer opportunities to take the SAT or ACT given the cancellations to date. This means that many students may not be able to take these tests more than once. The fact is that there are diminishing returns in taking these tests multiple times, and we hope students will not feel compelled to do so now or in the future.". Of course that really applies to the top 20 or so schools who likely won't go test optional. Even so students who submit test scores will have a leg-up on students who don't as long as the rest of their application is good.
I've been worried about this too, especially because the UCs (the University of California system) have dropped the SAT/ACT requirement for next year. You can still turn it in if you've taken it, but your application will not be denied if you don't turn it in. So basically, turn it in if you've taken it! Most colleges allow you (and want you) to turn in those scores! I spent a lot of time preparing for the SAT, and it would be horrible to see all that work go to waste.
I believe that (at least for the UC system) that while the requirement has been dropped, having taken the test will give you more weight than students who haven't. It might even give you more of an edge if you've gotten a good score (1500+) because it shows that you've taken it early and prepared well. However, the SAT may not hold as much weight as it used to. I also believe the GPA is going to have a lot more weight than it did last year. The UC system hasn't been very open about this policy, so this is just an educated guess. But hopefully things will work out in our favor!