Fall 2020 College Applications: The Impact of Covid-19

By: Joseph Corace | Last Updated: May 15, 2020

In several recent blogs, we enumerated the effects of the Coronavirus on colleges and applicants. This blog will expand and summarize our findings.

Clipboard Application deadline and decision dates: Despite the pandemic, most colleges are not changing their application deadline and decision dates for next year, at least at present, and the “at present” is an important proviso.


SAT/ACT scores: Because of testing difficulties posed by the Coronavirus, a number of colleges have changed their policies to make optional the submission of SAT or ACT scores. Our April 14th blog, The Coronavirus: Creates College Admission Vertigo, listed colleges that had recently become test-optional, but more have since joined that club, so here’s the up-to-date list (as of May 7, 2020):

Adelphi (1 year)
Amherst (1 year)
Babson (1 year)
BU (1 year)
California State University System (1 year)
Case Western (1 year)
Centre College (3 years)
Claremont McKenna (1 year)
Colgate (1 year)
College of Wooster
Cooper Union (2 years)
Davidson (3 year pilot)
Hamilton (1 year)
Haverford (3 year pilot)
Loyola Marymount (1 year)
Loyola New Orleans – test blind
Michigan State (1 year)
Middlebury (3 years)
Northeastern (1 year)
Oberlin (3 years)
Pomona College (1 year)
Rhodes (3 years)
Santa Clara (1 year)
Swarthmore (2 years)
Trinity University (3 years)
Tufts (3 years)
Tulane (1 year) – score needed for full merit!
U California system (1 year)
UNLV (1 year)
U Oregon
U Richmond (1 year)
U Southern California (1 year)
U Washington (1 year)
Vassar (1 year)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute (1 year)
Wellesley (1 year)
Williams (1 year)

Although we’ll keep you up to date with future posts, you can learn about policy changes more quickly (and at the same time demonstrate your interest to those schools — an important part of admissions consideration) by visiting the admissions websites and getting on email lists of colleges that most interest you.

computerBear in mind that test-optional doesn’t mean test-blind; submitted SAT/ACT scores WILL BE CONSIDERED by admission offices. Without scores, more emphasis will be placed on your academic record, extracurricular engagement, essays, and recommendations. So, the safe play is to register for the July ACT and/or August SAT as soon as registration opens for those administrations. And if regular testing does not resume by late fall, both ACT and College Board are planning to implement at-home online testing.

gardeingExtracurricular activities, including community service: In the absence of SAT/ACT scores, and given the difficulty of grading the present virtual semester, students’ extracurricular involvements will weigh more heavily than ever before in admission decisions. And that’s very likely to be true even for schools that don’t change to test optional. It’s safe to say that colleges will want to see how resilient you’ve been during your stay-at-home period, that you have been making productive use of your time, and that your teachers, in their recommendations, indicate that you’ve been fully engaged in your online academics and even supported other students. Last week we blogged twice about some specific ways in which you can stay engaged in extracurricular activities to improve your potential for college admission.

saving money Financial aid awards: Our April 22nd blog titled The Coronavirus and College Admissions: Uncertainty and Trepidation: Part 2 discussed this matter at some length, and while some sources that we researched voiced concerns that the financial crisis hitting colleges might reduce aid, others suggested that more aid than usual may become available. By contacting the financial aid offices of the schools in which you’re interested, you’ll learn the latest, and googling “financial aid award changes due to Coronavirus” will broaden your understanding.

Contact us if you need help navigating these turbulent waters.

Topics: College Admission College Application College Counseling College Planning


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