Learn All About Changes to the College Admission Process

  • Oct 30, 2020


Starting your college life is an exciting time. Sadly, this year the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the usual admission process for students. Colleges have changed their ACT/SAT requirements and made other modifications to their process. Test centres across the country cancelled their SATS dates up to September, and it is again still unclear if there will be a change in the upcoming fall dates.

If you’re a senior applying to college this winter, you need to be sure of the changes in requirements for each college in your list. Read on for college planning tips & strategies.

1. Contact your prospective colleges & universities.

Most colleges and universities have changed their requirements for the university class of 2025. All eight Ivy League schools, for example, have made ACT/SAT optional. The table below contains information about changes to admissions & test requirements for popular schools. However, to confirm policy changes, it is best to look to campus websites and contact your regional admissions officer (AO) at each school. Schools are saying these changes are temporary. They may revert to the original requirements for the class of 2026.

Colleges Test Optional Fall 2021 applicants? Accepting pass/fail grades?
University of California system (UC) Yes       
The California State University System (CSUs) Yes       
Stanford      Yes       
MIT Yes       

New York University



University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

Purdue University    

*Most test-optional colleges will not penalize you or your application for not taking an exam.

2. Can you still give SAT?

After you have contacted the schools you’re applying to see what changes they have made, decide whether you will be taking the test of your choice. Testing dates for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year are below. 

SAT Dates Registration Date 

November 7, 2020

October 7, 2020
December 5, 2020 November 5, 2020
March 13, 2021 February 12, 2021
May 8, 2021 April 8, 2021


ACT Dates Registration Date
December 12, 2020 November 20, 2020
February 6, 2021 January 8, 2021
April 17, 2021 March 12, 2021
June 12, 2021 May 7, 2021
July 17, 2021 June 18, 2021


If you had previously registered for the SAT but your exam was canceled, you can take it during the fall or winter dates.These socially distant tests will be conducted with strict safety precautions, with required PPE. For more information on scheduling, locations, and COVID precautions, visit the CollegeBoard website  or the ACT website . If you decide to take either test (or both), check in with the sites above and your test center frequently for any protocol updates. Check your email frequently up until the  day of examination so you don’t miss any important announcements.

3. Put your best foot forward on your application- even though the admissions process may not have gone to plan.  

In case the colleges you are applying to are test-optional, or if you decide not to send your test scores, check for AP and IB score requirements. Sending scores of past tests (& tests taken in May 2021) will also help strengthen your application In a statement released in July signed by over 300 undergraduate admissions deans & officers, Harvard University recognized that students “may face obstacles to academic work” during this time. These include loss of income, changes in commitment due to responsibilities at home, & many other difficulties facing students. It is best to reach out to your schools’ admissions department and explain your situation to them so you can best move forward with the correct information and support.

We realize that potentially graduating from high school without having taken the standardized test of your choice can be nerve-wracking. But your GPA, coursework level, extracurriculars, essays, and interviews are still opportunities for you to put your best foot forward when applying. Take this time to learn new skills to make your college application even more impressive given that colleges are going test-optional & continuing to evaluate students holistically. It’s best to find virtual opportunities to continue to show colleges your passion for learning & applying your knowledge.      

To put yourself ahead of the pack, apply for virtual internships and fellowships to build up your work experience and professional skills. InternMart connects you to exclusive local internships in your field of choice. Work from the comfort of your home, and gain experience that you can put on your college application. What better way to you confirm your interest in your major than to see how it will be translated to the working world?



Do you want to know more about making the right choice for your college and career?
Book a Free One-on-One consultation with a career expert.

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