College Admissions in a Covid Year: SATs Are Out, Personal Stories Are In

Douglas Belkin:

Memo to high-school seniors applying to selective colleges: A high score on your SAT is out. A Covid-19 epiphany is in.

Hundreds of colleges dropped their mandate for a standardized test score this year as a result of the pandemic, but the replacement criterion at many schools may be just as daunting for would-be college freshmen: a new understanding of themselves and their place in the world as a result of the pandemic.

“This wasn’t something you could study for or plan for, but it offers a great opportunity for students to show us what they were able to do when they just had to figure out how to make it work. That’s a unique story,” says Catherine Davenport, dean of admissions at Dickinson College, which won’t include test scores in its admissions decisions for the first time this year.