Tag Archives: COVID-19

16 Oct 2020

The State of ACT / SAT Testing Amidst COVID

As COVID cases spike once again in the US, the ACT and College Board continue to adapt to the ever-evolving situation. This means more test cancellations and general unrest surrounding SAT and ACT administrations. Back in late September, of the 334,000 students registered to take the SAT, about 183,000 of those students were unable to test. Of the 363,000 registered to take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests in early October, 154,000 were unable to do so due to test center cancellations. We expect the gap between the number of test registrations and tests successfully taken to continue to widen as we move into late October. 

If you are planning to test in the near future, it is more important than ever to stay up to date on cancellations in your area and we want to help you do that. Read on for a few ways to stay up to date on cancellations for the SAT and ACT. 

SAT Cancellations

As we noted in a blog post back in August, the College Board continues to reiterate that individual test centers decide whether or not to administer the SAT, pending local public health guidelines, which could mean unexpected test cancellations right up until test day. 

College Board suggests that students frequently check their email as well as the test center closure page before and on test day to confirm their center is in fact open. College Board notes, “Test centers may have closed or rescheduled to a makeup date at the last minute even if there is still an active admission ticket. If this happens, students will be notified that they shouldn’t report to their test center, and they’ll receive a follow up notification after the test day to confirm whether a makeup is available or if they will receive a refund.”

ACT Cancellations

Similarly, the ACT acknowledges “continued limitations in test center capacity and inevitable cancellations” throughout the remainder of 2020-2021 test dates. Decisions to close test centers are made on a site-by-site basis by test center staff following CDC and local public health guidelines. 

If you are registered for an ACT test date, you can expect regular email updates from ACT Monday through Friday by 6pm CT regarding your registration. In addition to checking your email, be sure to check this list of cancelled test centers frequently. Scroll to the bottom of this list to find information regarding Rescheduled October National ACT Test Centers.

In short, test cancellations are skyrocketing as COVID cases continue to climb. We understand how unsettling this must be for those of you preparing to take the SAT / ACT and want to support you in your test preparation, even (and especially) amidst growing uncertainty. As always, we are here to help. At Sentia, we don’t just tutor, we’ll be with you every step of the way™!

26 Aug 2020

International ACT Cancellations for December and February Test Dates

On August 25th, ACT made the official announcement that all international ACT administrations will be cancelled in the months of December 2020 and February 2021 due to the risks posed by COVID-19. ACT cites new testing procedures and safety precautions at the root of the decision, which anticipates complications and school closures due to the upcoming flu season and a potential COVID-19 resurgence. 

Students who were already registered for December and February test dates have been notified of their options, which include placement in an alternate testing date in the 2020-2021 year at no charge or a full refund. 

In the meantime, September and October international administrations will move ahead as planned. 

For those whose study plans have been disrupted by this announcement, coming up with a contingency plan is imperative. You may want to consider the following options.

Plan to test in October: If you are already far along in your test prep and feel ready to test sooner rather than later, consider moving up your test date to October. 

Plan to test in April: If you have not yet started your ACT prep, you may want to wait until the new year before diving into your study regimen. Or, if you have already begun studying, put your studies on pause until January or February in order to avoid burnout. 

Consider the SAT: If taking the ACT in October or April will not suit your needs, you may want to set your sights on the December 5th or March 13th SAT administrations. Though the pacing and structure of the ACT and SAT are different, about 80% of the content overlaps. So, by preparing for the ACT you have already been inadvertently building a foundation of knowledge for the SAT as well. 

If you are seeking more guidance in navigating these recent developments, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are always happy to provide support and answer any questions or concerns.

13 Jul 2020

What’s Happening on College Campuses this Fall?

As college students anxiously await news from their universities regarding what campus life (or lack thereof) will look like this fall, several schools have come out with announcements about reopening. Realistically, with COVID-19 cases spiking once again, the fall semester remains uncertain. However, several top schools have begun to set a precedent by announcing their plans for partial reopening. Keeping in mind that all plans are subject to change (public health crisis pending), here’s what we know so far as the following schools set a trend for the fall… 

Harvard 

On July 6th, Harvard announced that it will open its dorms to incoming freshmen this fall and ask sophomores, juniors, and seniors to seek approval to return to campus. In addition to freshmen, Harvard will house students who “must be on campus to progress academically,” namely those who do not have adequate resources to study off campus, struggle with housing insecurity, or require access to lab facilities. They have set a 40% upper limit on the percentage of the student body that will be invited back to campus. 

Though some students will be onsite in the fall, all courses will be taught virtually for students both on and off campus. Their rationale for encouraging freshmen to live on campus, despite all classes going virtual, is the potential for building a network of faculty, advisors, and friends that comes with living on campus.

University of Pennsylvania

UPenn, on the other hand, announced on June 25th that they will be inviting all students back to campus in the fall under a hybrid instruction model. Classes are scheduled to begin in person (to the extent possible) on September 1st and end on November 20th. (Classes of less than 25 students will be allowed to meet in person, to be held in larger-than-normal spaces.) The remainder of the semester, as well as final exams, will be conducted remotely. They will also offer the option to access all fall course material remotely if students are unable to return to campus. 

Housing-wise, UPenn will only guarantee housing for first-years, sophomores, and transfer students. These students will be housed in private bedrooms. 

Cornell

Cornell plans to follow UPenn’s lead, announcing on June 30th that they will welcome all students back to its Ithaca campus for the fall semester, blending in-person and online instruction. 

Like UPenn, the in-person semester is set to begin on September 2nd. Students will then return home for Thanksgiving break and finish the term virtually. For those unable to return to Ithaca, Cornell assures students there will be remote learning options available. 

MIT 

On July 7th, MIT released their plan to invite a maximum of 60% of the student body back to campus in the fall, prioritizing seniors and others who require in-person instruction and facilities to complete their coursework. There will be remote instruction available for all students off campus. For students on campus, there will be a combination of online and in-person instruction available. 

Like UPenn and Cornell, MIT classes will begin September 1st and students will depart campus before Thanksgiving. To minimize travel, all undergraduates will continue classes remotely through December. 

Yale

Yale announced on July 1st that they will be welcoming a portion of the student body back to campus in the fall. In each semester, three of the four undergraduate classes will be permitted to live and study on campus, in order to reduce normal density. Seniors and juniors may be on campus for the full year. First-years may study on campus during the fall and sophomores during the spring. Courses will be delivered in a hybrid “residential-remote” format in which professors largely teach online, with in-person instruction in some cases — including discussion sections, lab, and studio courses. 

As colleges piece together creative solutions in response to the current crisis, we anticipate getting more clarity in the coming weeks. Though we are seeing common trends in hybrid learning models and housing availability, each school is taking a slightly different approach to reopening. All of these schools make explicitly clear that students will be held to strict behavioral and testing requirements — presumably social distancing, mask-wearing, and regular COVID testing. 

As always, we are here to help navigate this challenging time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. Above all, we hope everyone is staying safe and well!