The College Board officially canceled the June SAT Wednesday, and we expect the ACT to follow suit in the coming days. Students will have an additional opportunity to take the SAT in September (date TBD), though it’s not yet clear whether Subject Tests will be included. Those who were already registered for the June test—along with current juniors who don’t yet have SAT scores—will be given priority when registration opens in May for August-December test dates.
The SAT and ACT are considering additional dates and increased testing capacity. Both are exploring online versions of the tests, though, given security and equity concerns, online testing will likely be a last resort and enacted only if high schools remain closed this fall. So, at this point, it seems highly likely that current juniors will again have access to testing by the fall of their senior year.
We want to reassure students not to panic. All of this is beyond your control. Your health—and the health of those you love—comes first, and colleges are already making accommodations. Most have announced more flexible testing policies for the class of 2021, and it seems increasingly likely that Early Decision and Early Action deadlines will be pushed back.
While many schools have announced test optional policies in the last few weeks, we are still advising most students to plan on submitting scores. Remember, “test optional” is not the same as “test blind,” and while colleges won’t penalize students who were unable to take a test, strong scores can still greatly benefit your application.
We’re advising most students to prioritize the SAT and ACT over Subject Tests. As of this week, no college in the US still requires Subject Tests for the class of 2021, and some of the most selective engineering schools—including MIT, Cornell, Caltech, and Harvey Mudd—have switched from requiring Subject Tests to “test blind” Subject Test policies.
That said, with limited testing, school cancelations, fewer opportunities for extracurriculars, and changes to curricula, other parts of your application will matter more than ever. If you’re applying to schools that still accept them, strong Subject Tests could prove particularly useful. And because Subject Tests are only an hour long, it’s possible they’ll be more easily adapted to an online format. (Whether this becomes an option is likely contingent on the success—and security—of this year’s AP exams, which will be offered online in May.)
We will keep you posted as more information becomes available. In the meantime, try not to worry. Every student’s situation will be slightly different, so contact us to help you figure out YOUR best plan. No matter what, all this uncertainty means the sections of your application that you can control will be weighted more heavily. Focus on your coursework, and we recommend getting started on your Common App essay.