Coronavirus Cancels College Entrance Exams, Leaving Students in Limbo

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Students across Connecticut were supposed to take the SAT Wednesday. But with school canceled, so was SAT school day.

The groups administering both the SAT and the ACT have suspended testing for the next two months.

These cancellations and closures are impacting the class of 2021 the most. 

“Juniors are thinking about their admissions exams and so this is like exactly when leading into summer they’re thinking about taking the spring exam and having a really good sense of what they’re doing and what schools they’ll be applying to,” said Dennis Yim, a longtime SAT instructor and current director of academics for Kaplan, Inc.

The coronavirus has put those plans on hold.

“You don’t know what ranges of colleges you can look at,” said AJ Kiessling, a junior at Ellington High School.

Kiessling said he’s counting on his SAT scores to know which schools to apply to.

“If I get a certain SAT score then I can get into this school but I don’t have it yet,” he explained.

Students also depend on those scores to determine where they might get a scholarship.

“If I’m applying to a certain school and I know the cost of it and I know I can or can’t afford it and I need a certain scholarship, I have a certain SAT score and I know I have that and I know I’m probably going to get a scholarship with that I’m going to apply to that school but if I don’t know my SAT score I don’t know if I can apply to that school because I know I’m not able to afford it,” Kiessling said.

It’s a common concern crossing the minds of high school students right now.  The SAT test scheduled on May 2 is canceled while the ACT on April 4 has been moved to June 13, which also means fewer opportunities for students to retake the exams.

“Depending on how well I did, I was gonna have this just be my one shot but if I did poorly then I probably would have retaken it,” said Alina Michalski, a Woodstock Academy junior.

“Focus on what can be in your control, focus on staying sharp,” said Yim.

Yim advised that students should take advantage of the extra time they have to prepare and possibly improve their score.  He also encouraged parents to help their child find free college prep resources online.  He said Kaplan has made some of their online test prep courses free during this time.

“This is a really great opportunity for you to jump in there, see what’s available and get your practice in when you can,” said Yim.

As some colleges consider dropping the tests as an admissions requirement, others may delay the dates for acceptance offers.  Yim cautions students not to treat this time off as a vacation.

“The majority of schools are still going to have these tests that you’re going to need to have great scores on,” he said.

It’s just another part of the college decision process put on hold.

“You can’t travel, you can’t go look at the colleges, can’t go meet people in person,” said Michalski.

“I was going to tour colleges over April break and now I can’t because they’re all canceled,” Kessling added.

Seniors enrolled in AP classes are also feeling a bit of an impact, but, the college board announced students will be able to take the AP exam at home, so they don’t miss out on that important college credit. 

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