By: Belinda Gonzalez-Leon, Ed. D., MBA
Ph: (305) 494-9389
High school students planning to apply Early Decision or Early Acceptance for colleges in the fall may have problems with their SAT/ACT scores. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SAT exams in March and May were canceled. The SAT June test date is still on the schedule with more test dates expected in 2020. The ACT rescheduled its April test date to June. However, most early applications are due to colleges by November 1st. Will your test scores be available in time?
Many colleges instruct that if you are applying Early Decision, the last SAT exam that you can take for admissions is the October offering. For the ACT, they may recommend taking the exam no later than the September offering. Both the exams should be taken an average of three times so that the student can understand the questions, the time needed to complete, and have ample opportunity to increase their score.
As a junior in high school, the plan should have been to take the exam as early as March. This would have allowed you the opportunity to test again in May, June, August, and if needed- October. Cancellations eliminated testing in March and May with the hope that June is still on.
Another issue is that students decide whether they should re-test based on score. SAT test scores are typically available two weeks after completing the exam except in June. The June scores take up to six weeks to be released.
The College Board announced that they will schedule extra test dates in the coming months. This could mean SAT/ACT testing during the summer. Are you ready to study and take exams over the summer? Does your college recommend or require subject tests? Because that’s another exam that you need to factor into your schedule.
How do you manage all these issues? First, list all the college application deadlines that you need to meet. Take into consideration the last date that the college allows you to test. Find out if the school is willing to accept your test results AFTER you have submitted your application (Yes, some do this!).
Second, plan out your testing dates based on your college deadlines. You may have to keep checking the College Board website regularly to notice new test dates. If needed, plan your subject test-taking dates also. Third, ask your colleges NOW if they will be flexible with test score deadlines because of COVID-19 cancellations. Several colleges have already made a statement to this effect – others have not.
If you determine that you will not be able to meet a deadline and the college is not willing to work with you, then you may have to take that college off your list. There is also the option to apply under the normal application instead of an early decision. The key is to research, check for updates, and plan accordingly so that you can take all the necessary steps to meet all the deadlines. That’s the best you can do.