SAT and ACT college tests canceled due to coronavirus fears has students worried

Concerns over the coronavirus have forced the rescheduling or postponement of spring dates for college admissions tests, while high schoolers may be allowed to take Advanced Placement exams to earn college credit from home, a published report Monday said.

The groups administering both the ACT and SAT tests announced they will postpone the nationwide exams, the Boston Globe reported. The April 4 ACT will be rescheduled for June 13, but the May 2 SAT has been canceled.

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The spring tests are used by high school juniors planning to apply to colleges the next fall, the newspaper reported. With the decision, no testing could mean some students cannot take the tests multiple times to try and get higher scores.

“The class of 2021 will actually be the most affected class. All of these students are stressed about how this impacts their college decision.” 

— Sara Harberson, former admissions dean who counsels high school students on college admission

“The class of 2021 will actually be the most affected class,” said Sara Harberson, a former admissions dean who counsels high school students on college admission. Harberson, based in Philadelphia, said many high school juniors take the tests for the first time during this season. “All of these students are stressed about how this impacts their college decision.”

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The SAT was administered last Saturday, but a number of sites scheduled to host the exam canceled, some leaving students in the lurch at the last minute, the Boston Globe reported. In addition, the College Board said it was canceling the March 28 makeup date for those who missed Saturday's tests. On Monday, the College Board couldn't immediately say how many students took the SAT Saturday or how many sites were shuttered, said spokeswoman Jaslee Carayol.

Iowa-based ACT said all students registered for April 4 will be offered the chance to reschedule for June 13 or another future test date, the newspaper reported. The New York-based College Board said everyone registered for the May 2 SAT would receive refunds. The College Board said it would try to provide additional testing opportunities, and said the June 6 exam date remains scheduled, at least for now.

High school juniors hoping to take the SAT or ACT standardized tests are being told the exams are being postponed or rescheduled because of the coronavirus outbreak. (iStock)

High school juniors hoping to take the SAT or ACT standardized tests are being told the exams are being postponed or rescheduled because of the coronavirus outbreak. (iStock)

The coronavirus situation could lead more schools to scrap test requirements. Although application deadlines have already passed for most schools, a few with rolling admissions or who are struggling to fill their freshman class are already waiving test requirements for current seniors.

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Colleges are also having to consider changing dates for seniors to accept offers of admission or make deposits said Joyce Smith, the CEO for the National Association of College Admission Counseling. There also are concerns over high schools being unable to issue final transcripts if they don't reopen this spring.

The College Board said it's working with local schools who give the SAT and PSAT on school days, the report said. Many schools also give the ACT during regular class time, instead of on Saturday, when the exams have traditionally been given.

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The College Board also administers Advanced Placement exams to high school students seeking college credit. The board said it's trying to develop “streamlined AP Exam options” allowing students to take the test from home. The board promised an update on its plans by Friday.

Smith said the College Board faces particular difficulty because it gives all its tests on paper, while the ACT has developed some electronic exams.