College testing, admission continues with changes

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Faithlyn Leveillee, Opinion Editor

Due to the recent school closings in response to COVID-19, testing dates have not only been cancelled and in progress of rescheduling, but have become a concern for some students. 

For now, April 13is the date set to return to campus schooling; however, the rate of infected individuals with COVID-19 in the U.S. and the Houston area continues to climb, calling for questions on whether school will return at all. 

 “I think it needed to happen,” testing coordinator Cassina Christ said of the state cancelling the STAAR test. “It kind of takes that stress off a student’s shoulders and teachers have to prepare for exams, not knowing when or if we’re going back to school.”

However, if the social distancing continues, AP testing will be changing, possibly leaning towards online testing. 

“The (AP) test will be a kind of modified test, one they use in other situations, like this,” Christ said. “There’ll be free response so it will be different than what [students and teachers] prepare for.” 

Along with the changes to the test, AP College Board has also announced that they will be waiving the $40 cancellation fee for any AP exam. 

“I don’t think with AP testing that there’s really going to be that much of an issue.” Christ said. “If anything, most people’s opinion is that it will allow for a higher score.” 

Lone Star College, so far, is planned to reopen online for testing and learning on April 13, while also actively monitoring and planning in case the date may need to be pushed back further. 

“I have been in touch with LSC and, currently, they are working on solutions for students, dual credit or seniors, who still need to take the TSI,” College and Careers Counselor Emily Nichols said.

Juniors who took the SAT test on March 4 should have gotten their scores over the weekend, but on March 26 all upcoming SAT testing has been canceled.

“It’s going to affect some people who were maybe trying to get higher scores so they could get into the college choice,” Christ said.

 As for seniors, the deadline for the Local Tomball Scholarship has been moved to April 17. The April 1 deadline for volunteer hours remains the same. 

“College and universities are working with the graduating seniors and are still available virtually,” Nichols said. “They are modifying the means of accepting things such as transcripts and test scores” 

Colleges are not penalizing students for their lack of extracurricular, knowing that many were in the middle of athletic seasons and competitions. 

“Really, the only thing different is the in-person contact,” Nichols said. 

Nichols encourages juniors to also keep an eye out for the changes in the applications for colleges and universities they are interested in for undergraduate admissions. 

“The process itself will stay the same (application, test scores, transcript),” Nichols said. “But they will work with students.”

For students worried about campus visits, many universities have virtual visits available on their websites. 

“I am putting together some virtual sessions with college reps,” Nichols said. “It’s going to have some great information and hopefully calm many fears.” 

While Nichols has already sent some update emails to most of the student body, there are many questions that still remain unanswered, for teachers and students alike. 

“Ultimately, it is important to remain calm during this time; this will pass and we will all be stronger for the experience,” Nichols said. “We are resilient, flexible, determined, and hopefully have learned that we can persevere through anything.”