The Foreign Service Journal, June 2020

66 JUNE 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT N o international crisis has thrown both stu- dents and universities into as much turmoil and uncertainty as the current COVID-19 situation. But as in any crisis situation, institutions and the people who work in themmust adapt and explore new ways of approaching challenges. Colleges are adapting daily to our new shared reality in their approach to the key questions around college applica- tions, admissions and enrollment. To paraphrase one college admissions official, the key words are “flexibility” and “nimbleness”: Students want to get into universities, and universities need students. So what changes can we expect in the coming weeks and months? Based on what we know now, here are some of the other combination of widely recognized testing—but you don’t have to submit any). Here is another term students should learn: test-aware . That means that although they are now optional, some students will still be submitting their test scores. So should you still take them? Test-optional does not necessarily mean test blind. Some colleges will still remain test-aware if scores are submit- ted. Thus, you can be sure that if a stu- dent already achieved a high score, she will submit it. Note what Boston Univer- sity has to say about it on its website: “Prospective students and applicants must decide for themselves whether or not to include standardized test scores with their application for admission to Boston University. When making this decision, students should consider the totality of their academic record, their contributions both in and out of the classroom and to their communities, and whether they feel confident that the sum of these experiences fully reflect their academic ability and potential.” Another point to consider is that topics creating the most buzz (as of this writing in April). Standardized testing. Many highly selective colleges, including the insti- tutions that make up the University of California system, are announcing that they will be “test-optional” for next year, and the list is growing daily. But what does that really mean? It could mean a variety of things. Be ready to see terms such as temporar- ily test-optional (we’ll do this for those applying in 2021, but do not plan to extend it); piloting test-optional (we’ll try this for two or three years, see how it goes, and then reevaluate whether or not we need standardized tests to make good decisions); test-optional (we do not require them now and have no plans to ever re-institute them); and test-flexible (you can submit the ACT or SAT, APs or SAT Subject tests, IB predicted results or Here are some of the issues and adjustments in the college admissions process to keep an eye on. BY REBECCA GRAPPO College Admissions and COVID-19 An Evolving Landscape Rebecca Grappo, M.Ed., has had a 35-year relationship with the Department of State as both a former employee and Foreign Service family member. She is the founder of RNG International Educational Consultants, LLC, which specializes in helping students around the world with the college application process as well as boarding school and therapeutic placements.