Applying for college? Things to consider during ongoing pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The pandemic turned the process of applying for college on its ear in 2020.

And now, 2021 isn't shaping up to be much different.

With COVID-19 cases surging, some may not be able to or want to risk taking college entrance exams.

Fortunately, not all colleges and universities require the SAT or ACT tests.

The College Foundation of North Carolina has a list of two dozen schools in the state where the tests are optional.

Those include Wake Forest and Duke universities.

But during the pandemic, those 24 may not be the only test-optional schools.

"My biggest piece of advice to students is to communicate with colleges. If you know you're interested in a specific college, call them directly," said Brittany Privott a regional representative for CFNC.

As college entrance exams faced cancellations in 2020, schools took note.

"Colleges and universities across the country started to realize that students weren't having equal access to take the SAT or ACT due to cancellations because of COVID-19," Privott said. "So a lot of them went test-optional."

National data shows fewer students applying to college early during COVID-19 pandemic

It is one of the many social experiments, such as working from home, forced on us during the pandemic.

In this case, colleges have had to re-examine standardized testing, which had already been under fire in recent years.

"Statistics show that some demographics don't do as well on standardized tests and that has a lot to do with a lot of layered factors," Privott said, "But overall, I think COVID-19 has really changed the face of education in general, and it's really pushed us to really think about who, who gets to go to college."

Privott recommended only taking a college entrance exam if you feel comfortable doing it or if any schools on your favorites list still require it.

But that may not be the only reason you need to take an entrance exam.

"If you want to be evaluated for scholarships, some scholarship committees are still requiring that test," Privott said.

Privott also pointed out that none of the state's community colleges requires an entrance exam.

So, starting out there for a year or two and then transferring to a four-year school might be something to also consider during the pandemic.
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