Last Thursday, March 12, the College Board announced that the SAT date scheduled for March 14 would be canceled due to the current coronavirus situation. This was well anticipated by the student body due to the Tenafly Board of Education’s cancellation of school on Friday. After school, many students went home and scrambled to reschedule their testing. Because the next open testing date would be May 2, 2020, that is the date many students went home to schedule for. I myself did it on a band room Chromebook at 3:12, only to find that Tenafly High School seats were already all filled. I opted for the next nearest location, Cresskill High School.
Only a couple of days later, students were met with untimely news. On the morning of March 16, 2020, College Board announced that all makeups for the March test, which were given to some schools for March 28, and all scheduled May tests would be canceled and refunded. This evoked a largely negative reaction from the student body, but particularly this year’s juniors, most of whom were planning on taking their first standardized tests this March.
“The news of the SAT testing cancellations is very upsetting,” said one junior, Maddie Davis. “I studied five hours a week since December for the March test, so that cancellation already made me angry. The fact that I have to now wait three months until I can take the SAT makes me so angry.”
It is true that there are still opportunities in June, August, October, and even November for those not applying to early schools to take standardized tests, but the March and May tests that have been canceled due to coronavirus have been the most crucial for the junior class. Students usually retake their SATs in order to achieve their best scores. If the only test available for students to take before summer is in June and students have yet to know if that is the score that they will be submitting to their colleges, the essays applications that will be written during the summer will be written blindly with regard to the exact stats of the students, making it difficult to be precise with college planning. “Not to mention that many colleges require their applicants to take two or more SAT Subject Tests. I feel like my time is running out!” added Davis. “These test cancelations are causing me a great deal of stress and anxiety”
The ambiguity of timing has been very frustrating. Not only standardized testing, but many other events have been canceled, making it hard for juniors to plan during this crucial part of their high school career. Many have been concerned about how this affects their opportunities to show their best selves to college admissions officers. A junior who requested to remain anonymous stated, “Junior year is the year where we can reach the highest competitions and do the best on tests since we’ve had all of high school to prepare. It kind of is the last opportunity for us to prove ourselves to colleges. To see everything get canceled within just two weeks is frustrating especially since a lot of those events were supposed to happen this month. All of our preparation is tossed out the window or, in other cases, it has to wait for ‘an indefinite amount of time’ which is just as annoying.”
However, Tenafly students understand how alarming and severe the situation at hand is in comparison to their standardized testing. “Honestly, the standardized tests being canceled is frustrating, but they can’t really do anything because they would put more people at risk, which is the last thing people want,” said another junior who also wished to stay anonymous.
An additional junior who requested to stay anonymous added, “I think it’s frustrating because these tests, unfortunately, play such a large role for our future, and by having the tests canceled, it’s scary. But it’s really sad that a lot of people are more concerned about whether we can take a test as opposed to how the actual lives of people are being threatened. This whole situation just shows a lot about our priorities as a society.”
In conclusion, the obscurity with regard to how long this situation will last has been the main concern of many Tenafly juniors this past week. Without a structure to plan upon, especially during their last full year before applying to college, juniors have been anxious about the next couple of months of school and the ones full of college application preparation in the summer. Now, students have no choice but to wait for more updates and do the best that they can in the comfort of their homes.
We continue to wait for more news and updates on future test dates for standardized testing, especially APs. In an email that Jayne Bembridge, Director of Guidance at Tenafly High School, sent out to the THS community, she stated: “CollegeBoard is working on a ‘streamlined’ version of the AP exam that may be taken at home if conditions do not improve. They will have final details by May 20.” While the TPS administration continues to serve the TPS community to the best of its capability, the only thing left for us to do is to wait for more news on the situation.