I Advocate Against Taking the ACT/SAT (Fall 2021)

Unless you are applying to colleges that are still requiring the ACT or SAT (you also need to consider the possibility that those colleges may make the ACT/SAT optional soon), my personal opinion is for you to NOT spend time on it.

The way things are going right now, I think any plans for socially-distanced gatherings (including in-person standardized testing) are overly optimistic (earliest possible vaccine likely won’t become available until the end of 2020, if not early 2021, and that’s if EVERYTHING goes well; but there are already some indications that things won’t go well, such as a large government contract for syringes being awarded to a company with no medical supply experience). What scientists and medical professionals are discovering about COVID-19 and its varied, long-term effects makes it, in my opinion, not worthwhile to unnecessarily expose yourself (I cannot, in good conscience, advise you to risk losing a toe or suffering permanent lung damage in the hopes of maybe improving your ACT/SAT score).

Rather than spending time preparing for a test that may or may not be offered, for which you may or may not get a decent score, I would recommend shifting that time commitment over to taking an online AP class and getting a good grade (if you are applying this November, compress the schedule and finish the course before senior year starts so the grade will be included in the GPA calculation). THAT will add quantifiable value to your application, whereas the ACT/SAT score is unknown until you receive it and the value it adds to your application is uncertain at this point.

Ultimately, you need to decide how you want to proceed (in consultation with your family). But we are in the middle of a pandemic and you need to take your personal health and safety seriously. Not taking the ACT/SAT may have some undetermined (may be negligible for all we know) effect on your UC Application, but permanent lung or brain damage (some of the long-term effects associated with COVID-19) will follow you for life.

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