Throughout the past year and a half, we have seen many disruptions in our ways of living. Due to the pandemic, we were taken out of school, cut-off from sports teams, and even laid off from jobs. The pandemic has had noticeable effects on our economy, extreme effects on our public health, and has brought to light the importance of social life for a civilized society.
However, there are other aspects of life affected by Covid-19 that may not be obvious for everyone. Colleges have made adjustments in response to the changes that Covid-19 has brought our way.
Firstly, many schools temporarily switched over to a pass or fail grading system. High schools and colleges made this decision to cushion students’ GPAs but for those who were working to bring up their GPA it could have brought upon stress rather than relief. In the midst of the pandemic families were struggling in many different areas. The decision to change grading to pass or fail was essentially made to support students, and despite subtle complications, many think that it did just that.
“The pass or fail grading system took some time to get used to but it was definitely beneficial for me at the time. It took lots of pressure off of me especially with all that was going on in the world at the time. I lost a bit of motivation throughout the school year because I felt like some incentive was gone, but overall the pros outweigh the cons,” senior Macy Maul said.
The main goal in most of the changes that colleges have made in response to the pandemic were choices made to ease pressure off of students. Another shift is that some schools are now pushing deadlines back later to give students more time to finish applications. In addition to later admissions, there is now a large percentage of schools offering free application waivers. Although you have to apply and fill out the waiver, it is yet another example of colleges making accommodations in light of current complications.
One of the most obvious changes that have taken effect over the course of the pandemic would be the shift to test-optional policies. Many schools are not requiring SAT scores for admission, as Covid-19 cancelled many opportunities for students to take SAT’s or ACT’s.
“The decision to eliminate the SAT-ACT was surprising to me. All of Oregon’s seven public universities are no longer requiring the SAT or ACT,” counseling secretary Rhana Mather said.
This decision heavily influences the number of students who take those tests. A poll of 40 Sandy High School students reported that 51% of students had the chance to take an SAT or ACT their junior or senior year. Out of the students who had a chance to test, 77% of them are seniors as of now, meaning that most test centers are open as students are back in school and Covid-19 restrictions are dropping. Of the students who could not test, a majority was the class of 2021, meaning that they were graduating while in remote schooling. During this time most test-centers were closing down, and cancelling tests, making it difficult to get SAT or ACT scores.
“I do believe that because, not only Oregon, but many other universities and colleges across the United States are no longer requiring the SAT or ACT, that fewer students are taking the tests. It not only saves money, but also stress from an already stressful year,” Mather said.
This change specifically has sparked lots of conversation among students and faculty. With past difficulty in mind, test-optional colleges, and a risk of future test center cancellations students were asked if they would still take a test regardless. Sixty-one percent of students reported that they still would take an SAT or ACT. There are many reasons why one would still decide to test: not all schools are test optional, test centers may close again in the future, colleges could lift the test-optional policy, and some students may just value the test for their own admission process.
With all that people have been through it is a relief to see colleges considering the students. Covid-19 has changed things in many aspects of life, but it can safely be said that college requirements were not expected to change.