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How some universities and colleges are handling admission tests during the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing many colleges and universities to take a second look at their admission requirements.

DADE CITY, Fla — High school juniors and seniors could start running into some challenges when it comes to applying for college. The pandemic canceled so many extracurricular activities, service opportunities and even college admissions testing opportunities. That's forcing many colleges and universities to take a second look at their admission requirements.

St. Leo University in Dade City did that back in 2018 and now they take a whole different approach to student admissions. However, many universities still rely on those all-important SAT/ACT scores as a marker for admissions.

A group called the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) recently came out with a report saying "relying on those scores could lead to inequities," and it might be time for a change.  

At St. Leo University, those test scores are fully optional as part of the admissions process. Instead of relying just on the tests, the school takes a more holistic approach when evaluating potential students. 

"A student's overall background in community service, certainly looking at their extracurricular activities and really determining if they are going to be a 'best fit' student at St. Leo," said Maribeth Stevens, the assistant vice president university campus and center enrollment. 

Another big concern about testing, especially now during a pandemic is access and availability to all students.

"These tests continue to promote inaccessible and inequality that students are able to hire test prep companies and are often charged thousands of dollars to monumentally change students' SAT or ACT scores. While some students have access to essentially improving their test scores based on their socio-economic backgrounds rather than true merit, other students do not."

Many colleges and universities are temporarily changing their admissions process for next year, because of the pandemic and making those test scores optional. But many organizations like the NACAC are pushing to make that a permanent change. 

There are many smaller colleges right here in Florida and across the country that are just like St. Leo and do not require those tests.

You can find a list of those schools here. 

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