PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania schools will now remain closed for the rest of the academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The news impacts 1.7 million students statewide.
The news adds to the uncertainty for high school students trying to graduate and go to college. It also is increasing stress for students trying to take the SAT exams, apply to college and graduate.
As COVID-19 spreads in communities across the region, so does anxiety over how the virus will affect college admissions.
“It’s pretty stressful,” Mia Leighton, a junior at Conestoga High School in Chester County, said.
Leighton was supposed to take the SAT in March.
College Board, the organization that administers the standardized exam rescheduled recent test dates to June due to the coronavirus.
“I wasn’t expecting to have to do it so close up to senior year and close to application,” Leighton said.
And if the date keeps getting pushed back.
“I’m scared I won’t get them all done in time so I won’t get the best score possible,” Leighton said.
“Junior year is already the most stressful as it is,” Stephen Odabashian said.
Odabashian is the founder of Main Line Test Prep and Tutoring.
He says some of his students, including Mia, have not yet taken the SAT or ACT testing requirements for admission to many colleges and universities.
Odabashian worries that juniors won’t be able to re-take the test in an effort to submit a higher score.
He also wonders what steps, if any, admissions officers will take.
“It’s just completely unfair to tell a kid don’t apply here because you haven’t taken the SAT,” Odabashian said. “At the same time, you don’t want to disadvantage kids that have taken it.”
While SAT and ACT administrators say they’re working on making more test dates and sites available in the coming months, schools like Penn State, Villanova and the University of the Sciences say they’re monitoring the situation and will try to be flexible with prospective students.
“It is better not to test,” Bob Schaeffer, with FairTest, said.
Schaeffer supports the move.
“Many schools considering test optional admissions have sped up the process because of the coronavirus,” he said. “The independent research shows that high school record is a better predictor of undergraduate success.”
Mia wants to stay in Pennsylvania, which has several test option schools.
But she’s hoping a high test score will give her the competitive advantage she needs.