RANDOLPH, NJ— Members of the junior class at Randolph High School experienced numerous changes to the college application process because of coronavirus concerns. These changes included the postponement or cancelation of the spring SATs and ACTs, College Board moving AP exams online and colleges canceling tours for potential applicants due to campus closures.
“With less opportunities to take both the SATs and ACTs, it puts more pressure than ever on us as juniors,” said Sophia Seretis, a junior at RHS.
As of press time, the College Board had announced that the next opportunity for students to take the SAT was scheduled for August 29. The College Board also noted that students who had not yet taken the SAT would be a priority when it came to registering and getting a seat at a testing location for upcoming exams.
The next ACT exam was still scheduled for June 13, according to the ACT website, but it would only be given at test centers that had been cleared to administer the test in light of coronavirus concerns. However, the website also noted that “During the week of May 26, we will notify students and announce all test center closing and cancelations for the June 13 test date.”
Juniors expressed their frustration at missing out on chances to retake the test and get the best possible test scores. They also noted the added stress this would place on their upcoming senior year. “Next year as seniors, we’re still going to be taking rescheduled SATs and ACTs when we should be working on our college applications,” Seretis said.
Taking these and other student concerns into account, some colleges had already begun announcing that they would be going test optional so students could have more flexibility when it came to applying or getting acceptances to schools.
Another big concern for RHS juniors was the cancellation of college visits. Without taking the tours, they felt they were “not receiving the full experience of college life and the people attending there,” as junior Claire Sukert said.
Online tours were available for students, but for some, they just weren’t the same as physically being on a school campus. Juniors remained optimistic, however, that college campuses would reopen soon, so they could eventually visit.
On the other hand, juniors also worried that RHS itself might not be able to open in the fall, which would put them at another disadvantage in terms of their college preparedness. “I think if we didn’t go to school in the fall, it would be extremely difficult for most students to teach themselves material at a college level from home,” said Lindsey Pokorny, a senior at RHS.
For another change, Advanced Placement (AP) exams, which allow students with high scores to get college credit, were modified for an online format. This impacted how teachers helped their students prepare for these tests. “The amount of preparation is the same but because of limited class sessions it makes it more difficult,” said Natalia Parama, an AP world language teacher at the high school.
“I think the teachers are doing a good job preparing us, given the circumstances,” said Ana Aksentijevic, a junior who was enrolled in multiple AP classes. To further help students adjust to the new online format, the testing organizations posted practice tests online.
Given the circumstances, students agreed that the best way to prepare themselves for their college journey would be to simply start filling out their applications, studying for upcoming tests, and taking as many virtual tours as they could.
Editor's Note: Matilda Lamberto and Yesenia Martinez are students at Randolph High School participating in a program with Tapinto Randolph