BYU will still require ACT or SAT test scores for admission consideration despite widespread testing difficulties due to COVID-19.
The university will, however, allow prospective students to submit applications without an ACT or SAT score in order to meet application deadlines. Students will then be required to submit their scores by Jan. 8, 2021 — less than a month after the application deadline of Dec. 15, 2020.
Students planning on retaking the ACT or SAT can submit their original score with their application and then add the new score by the Jan. 8, 2021 deadline. The continued lack of testing opportunities, however, may make even the extended deadline difficult for students.
Both the SAT and ACT are only offered on certain national testing dates, with some exceptions for religious observance. High school students will have four opportunities to take the ACT before BYU’s Jan. 8 deadline and five opportunities for the SAT.
College Board, the organization over the SAT, reported it is “experiencing high volume due to unprecedented demand.” This comes at the same time that “many centers have fewer seats because of social distancing guidelines or may encounter unexpected closures,” according to the College Board website.
The ACT had hundreds of test site closures for its June 13 testing date and only 25 sites rescheduled for an alternative June 20 date. Tests were administered in 45 states, according to ACT spokesperson Tarah DeSousa. The SAT, in contrast, canceled its June testing date altogether.
If states continue to see influxes in COVID-19 cases as they reopen, more testing site closures could take place on future testing dates. Both tests’ websites warn students to pay close attention to updates for their specific testing location.
“As more states and communities begin to ‘open up’ in the coming weeks, we anticipate, and are preparing for, greater testing capacity for the July 18 national test date. We are working with state-level officials, as well as test centers around the globe to determine which sites can open safely,” DeSousa said.
Efforts like these haven’t removed the stress factor of the situation for many high school students, however.
Sierra Violette, an incoming high school senior from Meridian, Idaho, was signed up to take the tests in April. Once they were canceled, she rescheduled to take the SAT in October and is still trying to figure out when she’ll take the ACT.
“It’s hard to know when I’m actually going to take it and when I need to be ready,” she said. On the bright side, she said now she has more time to study and prepare for the tests.
While she’s slightly worried her testing date in October could be canceled, she said she’s reassured by the fact that universities have to be more flexible during the pandemic.
“Students are powerless against when the SAT and Act dates are available. And when they are available, the spots are getting taken up really fast because everyone wants to do them,” she said.
She had planned to take the tests this summer, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to change her plans. Now the soonest testing date she can get into on her island is in September.
“It’s very stressful, and I just want to do the testing so I can start applying for my colleges,” she said. “I’m stuck until September to finish my applications.”
While Wasson thinks it’s fair BYU and other universities are still requiring test scores, she wishes there were more testing dates available.
“Although the world is taking COVID pretty hard, we’re adapting — and we’ll adapt to more SAT and ACT problems,” Wasson said. “We can do it, but we just need support from colleges and universities.”
BYU has not announced any information on how it would handle situations where students were not able to take the ACT or SAT before Jan. 8, 2021.