Recalibrating Academics for changing times
- Written by UnivAdmitHelp
- Category: Insights & Information
- Published on 03 Jun 2020
Will colleges and universities return to standardised tests like SATs? How can you apply for your overseas education if exams and tests have been cancelled?
If you claim to be the future, it is your education that decides the future. The changes that we are currently facing are bringing about a vast sea change in all aspects of life. Coronavirus, the ensuing lockdown, the preceding economic crisis, these, and more events, are together changing the face of the world to say the very least.
Education too is changing as we speak. Since the beginning of the year, students have been sent back home, and campuses have been closed. Exams have been indefinitely postponed, and all learning has moved online. This has caused a large-scale loss in learning - from a traditional point of view.
And now, even in the midst of large-scale suffering, there is a huge call for colleges to re-open in fall. The question hovering on everyone’s minds is - how will they re-start? Going forward, how will things change?
The existing cycle of exams and tests, scores and applications, exams and tests, and more scores and further applications... Covid19 has surely broken that one! In fact, the hit taken by academics since the beginning of the year seems to be leading to a re-calibration of the system of evaluation.
- Harvard has done away with the requirements of SATs and ACTs.
- In May, the University of California voted to phase out the SAT and ACT as requirements to apply to its system of 10 schools.
- University of Miami officials have decided to pilot “test optional” admission for all students applying for fall 2021, because of the cancellation of the administration of the SAT and ACT exams caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Top ranked Williams college and other universities have decided to go test optional for this admission cycle, if not permanently, in the future.
There was already a growing clamour for the standardised tests to go, with concerns mounting about the value of a single test score and the fairness of using that score in admissions when all students do not have the same access to great teachers and test preparation. But the shift has accelerated since the pandemic hit.
Now that the tests are gone, how will admissions take place? As Harvad puts it, colleges will continue to look at the whole person as they consider applications next year - “as always”.
- Accomplishments in and out of the classroom, community involvement, helping your own family, these are all factors that colleges will look at when they talk about a holistic approach to the application.
- An applicant can no longer rely solely on SAT scores (or other standardized test scores) to give them a leg up in the application process.
- A more “idealistic” approach will be adopted. It will focus more on a student’s performance in grade 11 and 12. And if the score from any one of them is missing, it will be extrapolated from the rest.
- A more holistic view of an applicant's capabilities and potential can be acquired from the AI (Academic Index). The AI is a combination of GPA scores, class rank, and continuous evaluation that colleges use to evaluate the academic strength of an applicant.
- Extra Curricular activities, Leadership roles, community development activities, these will all add to an applicant’s profile building efforts.
While you must stay home, stay safe, wash hands, stay alive, you must also participate in activities for profile building. Widen your interests, or deepen them, as the case may be, but stay true to your pursuit for excellence . An integral ingredient of this pursuit is consistency. Remain regular and consistent in your efforts, academic, or extra curricular.
In the absence of specific exams like SATs and ACTs, schools will find other ways to evaluate their applicants, for they cannot survive without students, and students need them as a stepping stone to their own future. The show, as they say, must go on.