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COVID-19 brings changes to college application process

High school students adapt to changes in standardized testing and college applications
Updated: Feb. 3, 2021 at 7:22 PM CST
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WHITEHOUSE, Texas (KLTV) - Whitehouse High School senior, Kate Hamilton, is hoping her first year of college will be spent in a classroom, instead of on a computer.

“I’m definitely looking forward to going to college and just hoping that my classes are in person,” she says, “and I won’t be—you know—in my dorm room doing class the whole year.”

Many students have spent the last year learning and--even testing-- behind a screen. For example, the Advanced Placement, or AP, tests were moved online last year due to Covid-19.

“Those were hard to show what you knew, because you [were tested on] one topic for the entire year,” says Hamilton.

“Even though [the students] are very tech savvy, sometimes testing on a computer is not as easy for a lot of them,” says Whitehouse High School Lead Counselor, Theresa Gray.

And that is not the only change highs schoolers have seen in the college application process since Covid-19 hit.

Take the SAT, for example. At the end of January, the College Board announced that they would be discontinuing the subject tests and essay portion of the SAT. But, Gray says that she does not foresee the absence of the SAT essay affecting the application process as much as another change-- several colleges did not require the Class of 2021 to submit standardized test scores at all.

“I think that’s a bigger component than them taking away the essay portion,” says Gray.

She thinks some colleges may do the same for the Class of 2022, and instead, look at things like letters of recommendation, community service and other accomplishments in place of test scores.

As high school comes to an end for the Class of 2021, and students continue to apply for higher education opportunities, Gray says she’s sensed a little more stress.

“I think its just the unknown. Every campus is completely different. In the past, you had a better idea of what was required—it was more generic across the board,” she says. “But every campus is different on what they’re accepting or not or what they’re waiving because of Covid.”

As for Hamilton, she thinks they’re changes we might as well get used to.

“I think Covid this year and all the changes being made are going to spark changes for years and years regarding SAT and AP test requirements and things like that.”

The College Board says students who are already registered—or plan to register—for an SAT subject test or SAT test with essay will still be able to test through the June 2021 administration.

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