SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — While there is much attention surrounding the class of 2020, students looking to apply to college in 2021 or beyond feel their problems have been overlooked.
These students are adapting to constantly changing college admissions standards while dealing with the possibility of taking virtual classes once again this fall.
Stacey Milton is the head counselor at College Specific, a college consultation firm in Santa Barbara. Over the past two months, she’s been helping numerous students navigate through this confusion.
"Occasionally students have a semester where things didn't go well for whatever reason,” Milton said. “We're seeing that for the entire country."
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of universities are dropping the SAT and ACT requirements for fall 2021 admissions.
Last Thursday, the University of California (UC) suspended ACT and SAT tests as an admissions requirement until 2024.
"I was planning on taking it at least one other time,” Santa Barbara High School junior Naomi Ellis said. “It has been a bit stressful not knowing whether or not I'll be able to take it."
"The ramifications of that are enormous,” Milton said. “For students who haven't taken it, at least it's some weight off their shoulders that they may not need to take it at all."
For the first time ever, more than 4.6 million Advanced Placement exams were taken online by students during a 10-day testing period from May 11-22.
Another challenge for prospective students has been not being able to tour schools in person.
"I was planning on visiting a bunch of campuses while the students were there just to get the feel of the campus and of the school,” Ellis said.
Many colleges are offering virtual solutions for these problems.
"Colleges are ramping up virtual programing with information sessions online,” Milton said. “So often that in some ways there are more resources available now than there ever have been."
Even with so much change taking place, Milton and her staff are advising students to take advantage of extracurricular activities over the summer months.
“There's a lot of opportunity this summer that maybe wouldn't have been there otherwise if they were just continuing with what they would have always done,” Milton concluded.
As for the obstacles faced in 2020, lessons learned from this global pandemic may prove to be the perfect subject matter in their college application essays.