Many US universities adjust admission policies because of the Covid-19 epidemic

The outbreak of Covid-19 and events demanding social justice in the US have changed the way exams are taken, and forced many schools to adjust their admission policies.

In November, the early admission round of American universities will begin. In addition to preparing documents as usual, candidates should note changes made due to the Covid-19 epidemic or events related to demanding social justice in the US.

Mardell Maxwell, Director of Admissions at the University of Houston, said that most recently, based on the actual situation, many schools no longer require candidates to have SAT or ACT results, but focus on overall assessment of candidates. …

Many universities do not require candidates to submit standardized test scores when the Covid-19 epidemic makes it difficult to organize the exam. Illustration: Getty Images.
My brother's teacher is still alive and well 1

Many universities do not require candidates to submit standardized test scores when the Covid-19 epidemic makes it difficult to organize the exam. Illustration: Getty Images.

Exam policy change

According to US News , one of the biggest changes related to college admissions in the US is the policy of not requiring or requiring standardized tests in admissions applications.

Data from FairTest (the organization that launched a campaign against dependence on tests) shows that for the 2019 admissions season, 1,050 universities in the US apply the above policy. For the enrollment in 2022, this number is up to 1,600 schools (data as of August 2021).

The non-mandatory or complete exclusion of SAT/ACT results when applying for admission is due to the fact that many standardized tests have to be suspended or canceled due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

"This is considered a major movement of higher education in the US when two-thirds of public institutions offering four-year courses declare that they do not need SAT and ACT results or allow candidates flexibility in submitting test results. who are included in the admissions application,” said Clark Briigger, Director of Admissions at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Mr. Briigger added that this exam-related policy is also likely to cause confusion for candidates in the next enrollment period. He noted the flexible score policy allows candidates to use results from other tests such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP) or submit other documents in lieu of test scores. check. Meanwhile, if the policy does not force test results, the school will consider other factors instead of scores.

Knowing the policies the school uses when applying for admission helps candidates determine their application strategy. For example, if it is determined that applying to a school does not require scores, candidates can focus on social activities instead of spending time studying for the SAT or ACT. With the school following a flexible policy, candidates choose exam results that are favorable to them.

However, some experts worry that the flexible policy is not really flexible. Admissions consultant Aviva Legatt advises candidates to still prioritize scores.

She encourages candidates to take the SAT or ACT to get scores to submit to college. Many experts have the same opinion. They believe that a good score increases the competitiveness of the application.

“If two students apply to the same school, have extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, the same GPA, between a candidate with no test scores and a candidate with good scores, who will the school choose? I think the majority will choose you with standardized test scores,” said Christopher Rim, founder and CEO of the admissions consulting firm Command Education.

He added that the top schools still want students to actively have SAT or ACT scores. Candidates will be at a disadvantage in competition without this score.

In addition, test scores are also related to scholarships. As at the University of Colorado Boulder, candidates do not need to have test scores on the application, but Mr. Brigger said that if you do not provide test scores, it is difficult for candidates to receive good scholarships.

Harvard has been criticized for prioritizing candidates whose family members have studied here. Photo: AP.
My brother is still in school with my brother 2

Harvard has been criticized for prioritizing candidates whose family members have studied here. Photo: AP .

Consider the succession admission policy

For many years, many schools in the US have implemented a policy of inheritance in admissions, that is, priority is given to candidates whose family members have attended the school.

Recently, this policy has been criticized for creating advantages for well-to-do families, reducing the chances of admission for good students.

Harvard University was sued when in the period 2009-2015, 34% of candidates with family members who studied here were accepted. Meanwhile, the admission rate for other candidates is only 6%.

In the context of many people fighting for social justice, schools must reconsider this policy. Colorado became the first state to ban giving priority to candidates asking for help from family members.

In general, the issue of admissions based on family "tradition" is more evident in private universities. Mr. Clark Briigger said that abolishing this policy will remove barriers for many candidates.

The survey, conducted by Inside Higher Ed and College Pulse , which released its results in July, found that 79 percent of participants agreed to ditch the legacy policy in college admissions.

Understand society to increase your chances of getting a job

The Covid-19 epidemic has not been controlled and continues to affect university admission policies and processes. Therefore, experts advise candidates to use their time wisely, learn socially and express themselves truthfully in their application.

Specifically, Mr. Christopher Rim said that candidates should note the sharp drop in the admission rate at famous schools that are strict in enrollment. He believes that behind the numbers is the fact that the number of applications to these schools has skyrocketed when the school relaxes its admission policy related to standardized tests due to the epidemic.

In addition, many students postpone admission because of the Covid-19 epidemic. Therefore, candidates need to know the enrollment situation and the social factors that are affecting it to increase their chances of being admitted.

The experts also emphasized the element of honestly expressing themselves in the application. Ms. Aviva Legatt encourages candidates to have a clear, coherent story in their application and have additional letters of recommendation to help reveal themselves.

“Standardized test scores are certainly not eliminated immediately, but their role is gradually disappearing. That requires candidates to express themselves more authentically when registering," she said.

Therefore, candidates need to focus more on other parts of the profile, revealing their personality and passion, especially how to pursue their passion in the world covered by Covid-19.

Mr. Christopher Rim suggested that candidates can include in their essays a story about how they have taken advantage of the past year and a half, especially the difference in how they act and think when living in difficult times caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. out.

In addition, with candidates aiming for top schools and rigorous admissions, admissions consultant Legatt encourages them to think positively and work harder.

“One of the best options if you want to get into a school with a low admission rate is to apply for admission early,” she advises.

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