Coronavirus is changing the college admissions process, especially for elite schools

Getting into an Ivy League school could be much harder with the coronavirus pandemic

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As high schools across the country have closed in-person classes and exams to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the college admissions process could be seriously affected, according to one report.

For one thing, some schools -- at least in New York City -- have switched their grading system from typical letter grades to pass/fail or credit/no credit, which means those scores won’t count towards their GPA, Avenue Magazine reported on Friday.

Another problem -- mostly for juniors -- is standardized testing. Christopher Rim, a college admissions consultant and founder and CEO of Command Education, told Avenue that schools have canceled standardized tests until May.

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However, there are concerns that the June test could be canceled, too. If that happens, the next test would be in August.

"There are two more test dates in the fall, but if you’re applying to school early, you want your testing done before the fall semester of high school starts," Rim told the magazine. "So you really only have one or two chances, and you can’t mess up on these exams because you don’t have another chance or test date to necessarily try again. That's the concern that we're having."

Some universities have made changes to address that concern -- most notably, MIT decided to stop considering SAT Subject Tests altogether and Northeastern University said it has made the Subject Tests optional for applicants, according to Avenue.

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However, Rim told the magazine that just because the university says the tests are optional doesn't mean students shouldn't take them.

"The students wanting to go to elite Ivy League or top-10 schools, really they're still competing against the top students at their [high] school," Rim said. "And if those top students are taking the exam, you should be too…if you want to compete against them, you need to do your job too in order to stay competitive."

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A third major concern students have is for their extracurriculars, which have been canceled through the rest of the year, Rim said.

"School musicals, sports seasons, everything has all been canceled," he said. "Student athletes, especially, how are they going to navigate this challenging process if they were wanting to get recruited? Those are all the questions that are still up in the air."

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