By HEIDI JIN
SAT and ACT testing centers across the nation are closed for the upcoming September test, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing centers near Irvine, such as Aliso Niguel High School, have canceled all testing registrations and are in the process of refunding students their testing fees. Other testing centers in California are offering makeup dates.
Following state guidelines, the College Board and ACT have been canceling tests since March 2020. Students whose March SAT registration was canceled could register for the May, June and August SAT. However, all three test dates were later canceled as the pandemic continued to worsen. Similar to the SAT, the ACT also postponed the April test date to June. But the subsequent June and July ACT were canceled as well.
Testing center closures have lessened students’ enthusiasm for the tests. High school seniors, in particular, are expressing their unwillingness to schedule for a test.
“If corona wasn’t a thing, I would’ve retaken the ACT. But since it’s shutting down all testing centers, I had to get a refund on my test,” senior Michelle Schuler said.. “Honestly I don’t think I will do the ACT even if it opens in the winter.”
To ease the tension that many current high school seniors have as a result of testing center closures, most public and private colleges have made standardized testing optional for the 2020-2021 application. The University of California system is removing standardized testing from the admissions requirement list until 2024. Other private colleges, such as Seattle University, have permanently suspended standardized testing as a requirement for enrollment.
“Many colleges are now having SAT/ACT an optional part of the application and I think this is a great opportunity for students around the world to apply with their personal essay,” senior Momoe Ando said.
Juniors, for whom the testing requirement has not been waved, are expressing significant concern over the closure of testing centers. For now, most colleges have not spared them the anxiety brought by mandatory standardized testing.
“The colleges that I want to apply to still require SAT [or ACT],” junior Jasmine Shen said. “I really wish testing centers can open soon and I’ll definitely take the test after they reopen.”
Despite many students’ urge for testing centers to reopen, it is not likely that the tests will be offered in the near future.
“I don’t think testing centers will open this year, and low chance for opening next year,” Ando said. “Considering that elementary schools are planning to open on September 7, I think that the third wave of COVID could occur. This could further delay testing centers to open.”
Colleges will announce new solutions if prolonged testing center closures occur. It is possible that due to the severity of the pandemic, standardized testing will be made optional for the 2021-2022 college application as well.