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Could Covid-19 change college admissions testing forever?

August 5th, 2020

Schools and colleges are making, adjusting and readjusting their plans for the start of the school year. One of the biggest topics on the minds of rising juniors and seniors is SAT and ACT testing. Is it safe to test? Will we find a spot, with the limited capacity available? Has the school of my choice gone test-optional, or even test-blind?

Image via NPR by Franziska Barczyk

Seniors must think carefully about whether to test or retest this fall. Although ACT and SAT have “added” plenty of fall dates, we don’t yet know if all will pan out and, of course, each family must assess its own approach to safety of testing circumstances.

Every day new schools announce test-optional policies, and Fairtest keeps track of the growing list. However, parents and students still wonder if not taking the exams could hurt their chances of admission. On today’s blog we share several resources that might be able to answer some of your questions. This article from Palouse Pathways and another from Inside Higher Ed both give insight into the changes happening in the testing world.

Keep in mind that each day brings a new challenge and we aren’t yet able to predict how all of this will play out. The informative article linked below from NPR covers the issues we face with testing during this pandemic and adds a useful perspective.

Article referenced below from, published June 12, 2020, written by Elissa Nadworny

Colleges are Backing Off SAT, ACT Scores …

Like many high school counselors, Crys Latham has been paying close attention to the colleges that are announcing that they’ll no longer require admissions exams for applicants. She’s a big fan of giving students the opportunity not to submit their test scores.

“We put test-optional schools on every single one of our student’s list to consider,” says Latham, who directs college counseling at Washington Latin Public Charter School, in the nation’s capital. “Because we know that not every student is going to like their scores, and a student’s test scores are not indicative of their potential or ability to be successful.”

Read more at NPR>>

Ethics and character at the heart of the college search

July 7th, 2020

The college admission scandal that was splashed across every major news outlet seems so 2019. However, this scandal shouldn’t be forgotten as it brought to light what was broken within the college admission process. The focus for college applicants has returned to what is most important: finding the right fit in the most honest and ethical way possible.

Image via US News

I am in constant awe of my advisees and their parents within the Shrop Ed community. Intentions are always in the right place and the motivation and drive to succeed are impressive. The article linked below, from Harvard’s Making Caring Common Project, shares seven simple guidelines to help make this the most positive experience for all involved. Let’s all recommit to cultivating ethical character and do our best to reduce stress during this sometimes intense process of college admissions.

Article referenced below from Harvard’s Making Caring Common Project, published by the Harvard graduate school of education

For Families: Ethical Parenting in the College Admissions Process

Parents and other primary caregivers shape their children’s moral development in myriad ways. They also often influence every phase of the college preparation, search, and admissions process.

Yet the troubling reality is that a great many parents are fundamentally failing to prepare young people to be caring, ethical community members and citizens. That’s true in part because of the degree to which parents have elevated achievement and demoted concern for others as the primary goal of child-raising.

In the following seven guideposts, we explore specifically how parents can guide their teen ethically, reduce excessive achievement pressure, and promote key ethical, social, and emotional capacities in teens in the college admissions process.

To read more go to Harvard’s Making Caring Common Project>>

Unusual times: navigating the college application process during a pandemic

June 23rd, 2020

Wow, what a ride 2020 has been, and we’re only halfway through the year! The college search has changed for everyone, and taking a creative, open and intentional approach has proven key.

Author Jeffrey Selingo offers wonderful pointers for the Class of ’21 in the article we’ve linked to below. Some students will see themselves in what’s described: canceled test dates, changed grading policies, activities going by the wayside, uncertainty about how to proceed. The crux of the message, though, is this: control what you can and use your time this summer effectively, instead of mourning what you can’t control and letting weeks slip by unproductively.

Before you dive in, one difference of opinion to note: Selingo quotes a guidance counselor who recommends expanding your college application list this year. However, I stand by my mantra of “searching broadly and applying narrowly.” The final application list need not have more than 8-9 colleges, particularly if selected with care. Even – perhaps especially – in these unusual times, students should have a firm rationale for applying to each college and not “overapply.”

Article referenced below from The New York Times, published June 3, 2020 written by Jeffrey Selingo

Carly Ross, an 11th-grader at Evanston Township High School outside of Chicago, had planned to take the ACT for the first time in April after completing a 10-week prep course over the winter. When the April test date was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, she signed up for one in June.

Last week, the ACT canceled the June administration at two-thirds of testing locations nationwide, including at Carly’s school. She’s holding out hope to take the test in July.

“It’s adding so much stress to the process because now the ACT is talking about an online test, which is something I haven’t prepared for,” she said. “This isn’t how I expected my college search to unfold at all.”

Read more at New York Times>>

The future is yours: youth activism in a time of crisis

June 9th, 2020

Two weeks have passed since George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. The long string of tragedies that have taken place across the country are rightly bringing racism, social injustice, and all their devastating symptoms squarely to the forefront of our minds. These heartbreaking events have spurred protest and a call to action during what is widely viewed as an historic opportunity for change. We all have questions. You may ask, will any of this make a difference, why now? For lasting change, reform starts with individuals and governments acknowledging the issue, learning about it, and truly understanding the impact. The right time to act is always now.

Image via

In our blog post today, we share an article that highlights 10 youth activists for racial justice who are making a difference. These young people are passionate about social inequities and are working to make their communities and the world a better place. There is so much despair in our world but at the same time there is hope. Never doubt that your young voices bring about hope in a time that seems hopeless, and that your actions will bring much-needed change.

Article referenced below from, written by Meredith Nardino


If there’s one thing that has defined the last year, it’s the power of youth activism. From pushing to pass smarter gun laws to leading a movement against climate change, young people are raising their voices and proving to everyone that there’s no age limit for social change. Another space where young people are leading the way? Racial justice and its intersecting issues, including gun violence, access to education, and representation in various spaces. There are so, so many young people fighting for racial justice and equality every single day. Here are 10 of those incredible activists you should know.

Looking for your own way to contribute towards racial equity? Check out our #RedefineBlack campaign, sponsored by My Black is Beautiful, to learn how you can advocate for positive, racially-unbiased dictionary definitions of “Black.”

Read more at>>