The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the college admissions process. Below, we’ve offered some broad outlines of what to expect with standardized testing, summer programs, and overall college admissions.


The March and May SATs have been canceled. However, the June SAT has yet to be canceled. Similarly, the April ACT has been postponed to June 13th. The coronavirus situation is still rapidly evolving, and it is still possible for these tests to be postponed again. It’s also currently unclear how the College Board and ACT will respond to the rapidly increased demand in testing over the summer and into the fall of this year.

Regardless of the tests’ ultimate timing, it will be more important than ever to fully prepare for these standardized tests. An unprecedented number of seniors will be taking the test this year, and they will have an abnormally large amount of time to prepare. Together, these two factors will likely make the curve more punishing than normal so maximizing your performance by creating a long-term study strategy will be more important than ever.

If possible, you should aim to schedule two standardized tests in order to have the opportunity to superscore. Normally students take up to six months off between tests, but given application deadlines, you may have to settle for taking two tests in back-to-back months.


Due to the coronavirus, all AP Exams have been transferred online. Students will have two dates to take each AP Exam, and the tests have been shortened to under an hour. They also now only contain free-response questions. You can find specific information about each test on the College Board website.

Summer Programs

Right now, it seems likely that some number of summer colleges and institutes will have to be canceled due to social distancing guidelines. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell which will cancel now. If you’ve yet to apply to all your programs, then you should examine their refund policy. Many are promising full refunds, including the application fee and security deposit if they have to cancel due to COVID-19. Your best bet is likely to continue applying to these programs and casting as wide a net as possible.

Even if all summer programs have to be canceled, there will still be opportunities for summer enrichment. You could reach out to local doctors and hospitals to see if there are volunteer opportunities. Alternatively, food banks and senior food deliveries are frequently looking for healthy and able-bodied young people to support. Similarly, local elected representatives have been connecting volunteers with local community aid organizations throughout the country. Discovering a way to support your neighbors during this trying time will give you both purpose and strengthen your eventual narrative arc.

Finally, you should look into online classes through platforms such as edX and CodeAcademy to supplement your learning over the summer.

College Admissions

Colleges and universities have been rapidly adjusting their admissions requirements in light of the coronavirus crisis. The entire UC system has opted to suspend the SAT/ACT as an application requirement. Additionally, UC schools will accept pass/fail grades when students apply. Other schools such as Harvard have said that they will place less weight on AP Exam scores. There is no single universal policy for higher education admissions right now, but all schools are doing their best to accommodate students during this crisis.

If you have questions about a particular school’s COVID-19 admissions policy, then you should start by looking on their admissions page and contacting the office if you cannot find the precise answer to your question.