The Latest on How Colleges and Universities in the US are Responding to the Coronavirus
The response to concerns over the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has deeply affected college bound high school students with school closures and the cancelling of large gatherings, including campus visits, admitted student weekends, and admissions tests.
Here's the latest on what's happening with admissions testing and campus events.
March 25: Boston University announced a test-optional policy for students applying to the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters.
University of Oregon is also going test-optional for students applying this fall for the freshman class enrolling fall of 2021.
March 24: Tufts University announced that it will go test-optional for a three-year period starting this fall in response to "extraordinary circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic."
March 23: IB exams scheduled for this May have been canceled. Students will be awarded a diploma or course certificate depending on what they had registered for. More details will be available on March 27.
March 21: Students taking the GRE will have the option to take the graduate admissions examination at home.
MCAT exams scheduled for March 27 and April 4 have been canceled.
Students registered for the March LSAT will be automatically rescheduled for the April 25 test.
March 20: The College Board announced that AP exams WILL NOT take place in person this year. Instead, students will be able to take a 45-minute online exam at home. For each subject there will be two different testing dates. The full exam schedule as well as the free response questions and other details will be available April 3. For more information visit the AP updates site here.
The UK Department of Education announced that "this year’s summer exam series, including A levels, GCSEs and other qualifications, and all primary assessments, have been cancelled."
International ACT testing dates have been postponed. The April 3 and 4 international ACT test dates have been pushed to June 13 and 14 in response to the coronavirus.
MIT announced that they will no longer consider SAT Subject Tests as part of the application process starting with the 2020-21 admissions cycle.
March 19: The IB announced that they will be making a deicsion on May IB exams no later than March 27. We will update as soon as more information is available.
March 18: IvyWise held a Facebook live event with counselor Christine to update families on how school closures and admissions exam cancellations can affect college prep. Christine also answered some questions from students and parents. You can watch the full session here.
Case Western Reserve University announced that it will be going test-optional for the class of 2021 admissions season in response to test cancellations due to coronavirus.
March 16: The College Board announced it's canceling the May 2nd SAT exam. They also announced that they are exploring options for the May AP exams, including a take-home option. More information will be available March 20.
The ACT announced it's postponing the April 4 exams to June 13.
Also be sure to visit the NACAC website for a great resource on school closures, deadline extensions, and more.
All of these changes and updates come at a time when students across the globe are anxiously awaiting admission decisions as well as the time prime time for students to go on campus visits. This can cause a big disruption in students’ college planning, and can also have a dramatic effect on how students choose where to enroll, even if schools are extending their enrollment deposit deadlines.
Here's a more comprehensive look at some of the latest developments:
The College Board has cancelled the May 2nd SAT test date, and also stated that "Makeup exams for the March 14 administration (scheduled March 28) are also canceled. Registered students will receive refunds." This comes after the March 14, 2020 SAT administration was cancelled in locations that are heavily affected by the coronavirus.
From the ACT: "ACT has rescheduled its April 4 national test date to June 13 across the U.S. in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). All students registered for the April 4 test date will receive an email from ACT in the next few days informing them of the postponement and instructions for free rescheduling to June 13 or a future national test date."
"ACT has rescheduled its 3 and 4 April international test dates to 12 and 13 June in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). All students registered for the 3 and 4 April international test dates received an email from ACT informing them of the postponement and instructions for free rescheduling to 12 or 13 June or a future international test date."
Graduate Admissions Exams Updates
GRE: Students registered for the GRE will be able to take the exam at home. "Taking the GRE General Test at home is available from March 23 (13:00 UTC) in selected countries where students can take the test at home beginning Friday, March 27." The test will be identical to the regular in-person examination and will be monitored online by a proctor.
TOEFL: Students can also now take the TOEFL at home.
LSAT: All March LSAT registrations will be automatically registered for the April 25 exam in the community where they were originally scheduled to take the exam. If that location is unavailable, they will be automatically registered for the June test in their locations. They are also waiving late change fees for April registrants. While no final decisions have been made they are exploring the option of possibly offering the exam online at home.
MCAT: March 27 and April 4 MCAT exams have been canceled. Students registered for exams that were canceled will receive a full refund and can re-register for a future date. Right now there is no plan to add additional testing dates but they are monitoring the situation closely.
GMAT: Testing has been suspended in many locations worldwide. For more information visit the GMAC site here.
AP Exam Updates
As for AP exams, students will be taking their exams online at home this year.
They announced: "For the 2019–20 exam administration only, students can take a 45-minute online exam at home. Educator-led development committees are currently selecting the exam questions that will be administered."
Each exam will be 45 minutes and each subject will have two testing dates – one early for students who want to test ASAP and one later for those who would like more time to prepare. Since this exam will be online, students can take on any device – smartphone, computer, or tablet. The exams will only cover content that most AP courses have already covered by March. Questions are also being designed and administered in a way that prevents cheating. The College Board emphasized: "We use a range of digital security tools and techniques, including plagiarism detection software, to protect the integrity of the exams."
The College Board is also providing free resources to help students prepare. Starting March 25 students can attend free AP review courses taught by AP teachers.
IB Coursework and Exams
IB examinations for May 2020 have been canceled.
According to the IB: "Depending on what they registered for, the student will be awarded a Diploma or a Course Certificate which reflects their standard of work. This is based on student's coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigor and quality control already built into the programmes."
Prior to announcing the cancellation of the exams, the IB provided extended deadlines for IB coursework as follows:
- eCoursework early component deadline (15 March) extended to 12 April
- Internal assessment deadline (20 April) extended to 20 May
- MYP personal project and ePortfolio deadline (20 April) extended to 20 May
- CAS completion entry deadline (1 June) extended to 3 July
- Predicted grade entry for DP, CP and MYP is extended to 1 June
- Externally assessed components for film, dance, music, theatre and visual arts extended to 30 May
- CP service learning and language development components to 1 June
- Language A: literature school-supported, self-taught alternative oral to 30 May
Will Colleges Go Test-Optional?
With testing cancellations and no clear information yet on if there will be additional dates for current juniors, many students, parents, and counselors are wondering if colleges will be more flexible with testing requirements for the class of 2021. While the full effect on testing remains to be seen, some schools are stating early that they might adopt test-optional/flexible policies for the next admissions season.
- Boston University: BU will adopt a temporary test-optional policy for students appling to the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters.
- Case Western Reserve: "The university has adopted a test-optional policy for students applying for the fall 2021 semester. "
- Concordia University
- Drury University
- Limestone University (for those applying for fall 2020 admission)
- Mansfield University (for those applying for fall 2020 admission)
- Millersville University (for those applying for fall 2020 admission)
- MIT: "MIT has made the decision to no longer consider the SAT Subject Tests as part of the admissions process." MIT states this policy had been in consideration for a while and wanted to announce ASAP.
- Tufts University: In response to the coronavirus pandemic Tufts will adopt a test-optional policy for a three-year period beginning this fall for applicants to the class of 2025.
- University of Oregon: Will be test-optional for applicants to the fall 2021 freshman class.
- University of Toledo
- Westminster College (for those applying for fall 2020 admission)
University Event Cancellations
In response to coronavirus concerns, many colleges and universities across the US have announced cancellations or modifications to regular admissions events, most notably the cancellation of admitted student weekend events at some of the country’s top universities. Each school is taking its own approach to this situation, so it’s important to check with each school on your college list to learn if any cancellations impact you personally.
Counselors have been putting together resources to help students visit their top-choice schools virtually. Here's a list of schools that offer virtual tours and where to find them.
Here’s a list of some of the admission event cancellations and updates. We will update as more information is available so check back periodically.
(Updated March 20, 2020)
- Amherst College: Suspending most public on-campus events until at least May 1. As a result, they will not be holding any on-campus tours or information sessions until further notice.
- Babson College: At this time, we are significantly limiting larger events and activities on campus through March 31 with regular assessments being made on additional restrictions.
- Bard College: As of Monday March 16 they have cancelled all campus tours through Sunday, April 12 and moved the Open House for accepted students and their families to a virtual event on Saturday, April 4.
- Barnard College: All formally scheduled campus visit programs, including campus tours, information sessions, special group tours and class visits are suspended until the end of March.
- Bates College: Visits are continuing but Bates is actively monitoring the situation and will update accordingly.
- Boston College: Admission information sessions, campus tours, and events have been suspended for the spring semester.
- Boston University: All BU-sponsored events are canceled.
- Brown University: All “A Day on College Hill” admission events for April are canceled.
- California Institute of Technology: Caltech cancels campus events including all campus-visiting programs indefinitely.
- Colby College: Beginning Monday, March 16, all group travel to campus will be prohibited, including all admissions events including the Class of 2024 Admitted Students Program, campus tours, information sessions, and group visits.
- Colorado College: College Visits and Open Houses are cancelled - Spring Break extended until March 29th
- Columbia University: All spring admissions events canceled including admitted students weekend, information sessions, and campus tours.
- Cornell University: Visitors who have been in an affected country within the past 14 days are not allowed to visit campus.
- Dartmouth College: As of March 4, 2020, all visitors traveling from or transiting through countries with a CDC Travel Health Notice of Level 2 or 3 will need to self-quarantine for 14 days before arriving to campus.
- Davidson College: In response to on-going concerns about COVID-19, Davidson has made the difficult decision to suspend all campus visit programs beginning Monday, March 16.
- Duke University: All on-campus recruitment activities including information sessions, campus tours, and admitted student events are cancelled from March 13 to at least April 20.
- Elon University: Campus Visits and Admitted student events have been canceled through April 30.
- Emory University: If you have been in a Level 3 travel country in the last 14 days, they are asking you not to attend your campus visit, including the Atlanta campus and Oxford campus.
- Georgetown University: Suspended ALL university-sponsored or related non-essential international travel through May 15, 2020
- Harvard University: Admitted students weekend canceled – will hold virtual events instead
- Harvey Mudd College: All campus events are currently proceeding as scheduled.
- MIT: Campus Preview Weekend canceled as well as all information sessions and tours between now and May 15
- New York University: We are suspending all on-campus visits effective Wednesday, March 11 through April. We look forward to welcoming you to campus in the future, and have curated several resources for you to experience campus virtually in the meantime.
- Northeastern University: At this time, all prospective student information sessions, campus tours, and college programming previously scheduled for our Boston campus between March 16 and May 1 will be offered on a virtual platform.
- Northwestern University: All visitors to campus (non-employee, non-student) for short- or long-term periods who meet the CDC criteria are expected to follow the same 14-day self-isolation requirement.
- Pomona College: Pomona College has cancelled tours and info sessions, as well as Admitted Students Weekend. They will reassess in April, but, as of now, admissions is closed to visitors until April 30.
- Princeton University: Campus tours and information sessions are canceled beginning Tuesday, March 10 until further notice.
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Effective immediately, and until further notice, we are suspending all university-sponsored events, including events sponsored by student organizations.
- Rice University: Cancelled all information sessions, tours, lunch visits, overnight visits, and class visits through April 30. Any registrants who prepaid lunch during this time will be automatically fully refunded.
- Rutgers University: Beginning Thursday, March 12, Rutgers events and in-person meetings involving groups larger than 15 participants are cancelled through April 15. Guidance related to this policy will be reviewed again by April 1.
- Stanford University: All on-campus tours and information sessions, including admitted students weekend, for prospective students will be canceled through April 15.
- Swarthmore College: The Swarthmore Admissions Office is now closed to the public for in-person visits through April 17; we remain open via telephone, email, and virtual meetings.
- Syracuse University: Cancelled accepted students’ events through May 1.
- Tufts University: Undergraduate admissions information sessions and campus tours are proceeding as scheduled.
- University of California – Berkeley: Cal Day, which was scheduled for April 18, has been canceled.
- University of California – Davis: Our office is monitoring school closures and government actions around the United States and the world. We will work with individuals as needed to stay on track with admission and make sure everyone has the information they need for enrolling at UC Davis.
- University of California – San Diego: Cancellation of non-essential visits to campus by groups of more than 15 people (including tours, and other events bringing visitors to campus.)
- University of California – Sant Cruz: Campus tours, yield events, and other visitor programs should be canceled and sponsors should consider offering online or virtual campus outreach where feasible and appropriate for program outcomes.
- University of California – Santa Barbara: The Visitor Center will be closed to the public until at least May 4th.
- University of California – Los Angeles: Cancelling non-essential large gatherings through April 10.
- University of Chicago: The university has temporarily closed its Center in Beijing and Yuen Campus in Hong Kong, and strongly discourages travel to any country with a CDC travel health notice of Level 3.
- University of Connecticut: Campus remaining open as normal.
- University of Michigan: All UM events of 100 people or more from March 12 – April 21 are canceled.
- University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill: The University is closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. At this time, they are operating on a normal schedule.
- University of Pennsylvania: Quakers Day events canceled – will hold virtual events instead.
- University of Southern California: All university-sponsored events, on and off campus between March 11 and March 29 will be canceled or postponed.
Vanderbilt University: All University-sponsored, non-athletics events and gatherings are suspended through April 30.
- Wake Forest University: Wake Forest University Admissions is suspending all campus visits, student-led tours, and admissions programming, including our “A Day in the Forest,” Campus Day, and MOSAIC events.
- Washington University in St Louis: All daily visit events and on- and off-campus events have been cancelled and there are visitor restrictions in effect.
- Wesleyan University: Wesleyan has cancelled all on campus events, including conferences until further notice. No decision has been made about events related to Reunion and Commencement weekend.
- Wellesley College: All Wellesley College-sponsored, on-campus events with 100 or more attendees that include members of the public should be postponed, canceled, or offered virtually.
- Williams College: Williams College has made the difficult decision to cancel Williams Previews as well as all campus visits through April 30.
- Yale University: All tours, information sessions, and forums at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions have been canceled through April 15 in response to the COVID 19 outbreak.
NACAC also has a great resource for information on school closures, deadlines, and more affected by COVID-19.
NACAC announced that it is cancelling all college fairs for the remainder of spring 2020.
This is a very fluid event so expect changes to happen rapidly and frequently. At IvyWise we work with families to help them best navigate the college admissions process, including any unexpected challenges like canceled campus visits and testing. If you need help making decisions on your testing schedule or college list because of cancellations, our team is here to help. Contact us today for information.