SAT and ACT
Since I live in LA, and most of the testing centers are closed, will not submit my test score make it harder/hurt my chances of a top college accepting me?
Also, If I just started volunteering at a YMCA, and I am a senior now, will colleges still count it as community service hours even though I barely start?
So for test optional no test means it isn’t evaluated if not submitted if it is submitted it is evaluated so no test scores will not hurt you directly but if Harvard gets an applicant that’s directly the same as you but has a 1570 SAT s/he’d likely be picked over you. So submitting a SAT provides a boost. Not submitting one doesn’t hurt you.
So it will not hurt you and with so many in your situation it will have no impact. In others years going test op would hurt you becuase more would submit a test score.
As for volunteering it’s perfectly fine to put it on even if you haven’t done all of it yet as in it ends in the spring but you submit your application in the winter. However as you are doing this senior year only it will not have a sizeable impact as AOs will likely believe you just did it for college admissions purposes. Though it is still a valid EC.
Hope this helps and please comment if you need clarification as I’d be happy to help clarify!
So many colleges have signed off on being test-optional and they understand the circumstances that prevent students from testing. So not having a test score will not hurt your application. That being said, a test score could help you and if you are compared with someone with a similar profile who has a high test score, then they will be a stronger applicant than you.
And volunteering and starting a new activity definitely counts. On the common app list the intended time commitment for your senior year and try your best to stick to that.
I'll answer the second question first; yes, the hours you put into volunteering should count as long as you put them into your application.
For the first question, not having a test score will hurt your chances, no doubt about that. However, you can input any other test scores that you have, for example, your PSAT score. Explain to the colleges that you were not able to take the SAT as planned, and that you would be open to alternative measures of showing how you would be a benefit to their college community.
I know this might seem confusing, so let me know if you have any questions. :)