As time progresses, life amidst the pandemic has become more and more normalized. Schools have switched to an online format, and most outings are strictly for essential items. However, as COVID-19 continues to shape our lives, one of the largest ramifications of this virus, especially in the Bay Area, will be its effect on college admissions.
COVID-19 first came into effect around March, disrupting standardized testing dates and the spring grading system. College applications have long been centered around standardized testing, usually weighting admissions off of SAT or ACT marks and AP test scores. As a result of the pandemic, the College Board has cancelled a lot of these testing dates, failing to offer SAT or ACT testing since the virus hit. Universities all around the US have recognized this issue, and many have waived SAT and ACT requirements. The University of California system, better known as the UC's, have even gone as far as to say that they’re phasing out the requirement for standardized testing altogether. As for AP testing, the College Board released a shortened version of the test for each subject that students took online. The usual AP test was a 2-3 hour multiple choice and free response test, while the new version was an hour long test tailored differently for each subject. Many students reported the site crashing during their test or malfunctions that prohibited them from turning in their work. University admissions have always been in tandem with College Board scores and standardized testing. However, as the virus continues to take its course, colleges are slowly placing less importance on test scores and focusing more on extracurricular work and essays.
In addition to this, high schools are considering changing their grading systems. Some are considering a pass/fail policy for all grades while others are using grade flooring, a system where student grades cannot drop from what they already are and can only increase.
As times continue to change, we can only guess at what the coming college admissions season will be like. Whether colleges will bar international students, or ignore grades altogether is still up for question. The pandemic has challenged colleges to rethink their admissions system and forced them to adopt policies that will make the application process more doable. Hopefully these changes will shepherd our education system into a more equitable one where learning is accessible to all.