When colleges said they would not require standardized test scores from applicants this year, OVS senior Mark Pindur frowned.
“It could benefit me since I already have good testing scores from before COVID,” Mark said. “Or [it] could go against me since those scores could be nullified.”
The reason behind Mark’s conflict is a wave of policy changes as a result of the COVID pandemic. Many colleges are no longer requiring SAT/ACT from applicants applying for fall 2021.
New York University has long been known for its flexible testing policy, but this year, its policy has become even more flexible.
William Sichel, the Senior Director of Admissions of NYU, explained that the reason behind the change is the coronavirus.
“We have always had a flexible testing policy at NYU, allowing students to submit many tests beyond the ACT and SAT,” said Mr. Sichel. “However, it quickly became clear this past summer as the impact of the pandemic was developing that our testing policy was not sufficient in light of the difficulties in taking standardized tests this year.”
Many other colleges have made the same adjustment for similar reasons.
Harvard College, the undergraduate college for Harvard University, has declared its test-optional status on their website as well.
“In the face of unprecedented uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the coronavirus and the economy, we want to be helpful in any way we can,” the college said on its website. “Harvard College will allow students to apply for admission to the Class of 2025 without requiring standardized test scores.”
Upon their accommodations, the colleges have also stated that applicants who do not submit a test score will not be considered as any less worthy of admission.
“High school transcripts have always been, and will continue to be, the most important part of our academic review of applications,” Mr. Sichel said. “Applications without testing will still be fully reviewed and not held at a disadvantage because they do not have tests.”
As not having a standardized test score will not be a drawback, many of the seniors at Ojai Valley School are now on the fence about whether they should submit their existing test scores to the colleges, or change their application strategies completely.
Some seniors consider the policy change a useful opportunity.
“Test-optional policy is beneficial to me as I didn’t get the opportunity to take tests that I registered for,” said senior Bob Chen. “Rather than thinking of this policy as a barrier, I view it positively since it gives me plenty of leeway on my application.”
Others chose to stay conservative and try to have the test scores that are no longer required.
“I would apply to schools that I’ve thought about before and not dramatically change it,” said senior James Choi. “I’ve been preparing for the SAT for quite a long time, it’s something that I can’t just let go because of the efforts and time that I spent on it.”
In light of all this, Fred Alvarez, the OVS college counselor, remains confident in the OVS seniors.
“It’s a college admission cycle unlike any we’ve ever experienced,” said Mr. Alvarez. “That can bring with it great uncertainty and apprehension. However, from our standpoint, our message to the seniors remains the same: all they can do is prepare and throw their best pitch. And they’ve spent their years at OVS preparing to do just that.”
Senior Mark Pindur reported all his test scores: ACT, AP and SAT. Like many other seniors, all he can do is to frame a great application and pray for a favorable outcome.
“I’m unsure what to expect decisions-wise, but [I] will try to do my applications well,” Mark said. “I’ll just have to wait and hope for the best.”Share