The spring of junior year is a critical one in the admissions process
, especially for those planning to apply early decision.
Now, high schools have moved online, some have shifted to pass/fail grades, testing dates for the SAT and ACT have been canceled
through May, and in-person Advanced Placement tests have been scrapped and replaced with 45-minute open-ended versions
On the AP exams:
The College Board’s Connie Betterton
joined us for the town hall to answer questions. Among the most-asked ones:
Will 45 minutes be enough? “We’ve taken a lot of care to ensure that students can complete the materials in 45 minutes,” Betterton told us.
What about cheating? “We have designed the exam questions and are planning to administer the test in ways that would make cheating very difficult,” she said. Among those measures: Reading and analyzing primary sources to write substantive responses in the humanities. In math, complex problems where students will have to show their work.
How will admissions officers evaluate AP classes on transcripts? “I think you’re going to have colleges bend over backwards to adapt and be flexible to make sure that no student is disadvantaged,” Betterton said. Rick Clark suggested that admissions officers will revamp their training for application readers next year given all the upheaval in high schools this spring.
Will colleges give credit for the exams? At Georgia Tech, Rick Clark said “it’s highly likely that we will continue to give the same credit for the same class with the same score.” But he imagines two things happening. One, advisors will talk to students about whether they know the content well enough to take the credit. Two, faculty might consider online bridge programs this summer to help students with content they might have missed this spring.
On the SAT: For now, the College Board is still planning to administer the test in June. But “we don’t know what the next eight weeks are going to be like,” Betterton said.
Between the lines: It sounds like the College Board, like most institutions, is in triage mode—and right now the immediate focus is on the AP tests. It’s clear they know they’ll need to add SAT dates in the late summer and early fall, but how many, where, and when are still up in the air.
“We’re working now to identify alternate test dates throughout summer and fall with a goal of, if it’s at all possible, a one-a-one replacement,” said Connie Betterton.
What remains unclear is how the SAT dates might impact early-decision and early-action deadlines, which are typically November 1.
Bottom line: Admissions offices have long resisted changes to their process, but COVID-19 is making them think differently on the fly. The question is what changes might stick for the long run.
👋 More than 1,000 students, parents, counselors, and admissions officers participated in last week’s town hall, so I’m joining up with my friends at Grown & Flown
and The Chronicle of Higher Education
to host another one. Joining us will be:
Chris Gruber, dean of admission and financial aid, Davidson College
Janet Goodwin, chief operating officer, ACT
Gary Clark, director of undergraduate admission, UCLA
Tune in….Tuesday, March 31 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Register here for free.