No Essay, No Subject Tests… Now What? – Ask a College Admissions Consultant

What is happening?
The College Board recently announced that they will discontinue SAT Subjects Tests immediately for students in the US, while international students who still wish to take them can do so until May or June of 2021. Students may still submit existing scores from the SAT Subject Tests, but are encouraged to check with each college and their policies for the next application cycle.

The Optional Essay of the SAT will also be phased out by June 2021 with all the other parts of the test remaining the same. More changes will be announced in April with the goal of creating what the College Board is calling a “more flexible SAT – a streamlined, digitally delivered test.”

What does this mean for students?
1. The SAT and/or ACT will have more weight. Students who were previously able to demonstrate their subject knowledge through the SAT Subject Tests will no longer have that option. With fewer opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge in various subjects, the SAT will be weighted more heavily on a student’s college application, along with their GPA and personal statement.

Not planning to write the SAT or ACT? Read more about how to stand out without an SAT or ACT score.

2. AP and/or IB test results will be the only standardized tests to demonstrate subject knowledge. As always, students’ grades are very important for college admissions, but they are typically paired with standardized testing scores. With fewer testing options, the AP and/or IB test results will be critical components of the college applications to demonstrate college readiness. Whether it is through school or self-study, students are encouraged to get a head start and focus their attention on these options.

3. An adaptive, computer-based SAT might be in the future. A digital version of the test may become a more popular option, especially within schools. The ACT recently switched to a computer adaptive system that delivers each question based on the student’s performance on the previous question.

Overall, it means that all other aspects of your college application will need to stand out. While many colleges have become test optional due to the ongoing pandemic, admissions officers will be on the lookout for standardized data to support the subjective aspects of students’ applications. Therefore, it is in students’ best interest to not only have impressive grades, extracurricular activities, and college essays, but also score well on the standardized tests. The challenge is that with all the changes, students will have fewer testing options to demonstrate their academic readiness. Planning early and preparation will be key to successful applications in the future.

For more information on how to stand out with all the expected changes, book a free initial consultation and get started on an Academic Roadmap!

Moon Oh

Moon Oh is an education consultant at Ivy Global and an integral member of the consulting team that has helped students gain admission to the top private schools and universities in the U.S. and Canada. Moon’s extensive experience in the field of education includes a background in private school admissions, classroom teaching, public speaking coaching, and guidance counselling. As a graduate of the dual-degree Concurrent Education program at Queen’s University, Moon enjoys working with students on a long-term basis to provide exceptional educational support at the elementary and secondary level. As a former high school valedictorian and student council leader, she is passionate about student leadership and helping students reach their utmost potential.

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