How COVID Has Effected SAT/ACT Prep

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Raquel Dickinson, 10th Grade

Sydney Kaul, Staff Writer

The college application process is already extremely stressful and time-consuming, and COVID-19 has only made it more difficult for the senior class of 2021. New essential guidelines and restrictions for this devastating pandemic have limited students’ resources and opportunities in preparation for college. 

A major setback for many students was the shift from in-person meetings to virtual with their tutors. Regardless of how helpful and knowledgeable these tutors may be, working together over the phone does not have the same impact as in-person. Senior, Max Kaul, shares how difficult this process has been for him over the past few months; “I found it much easier to be with my tutor in person, rather than over the phone. It’s difficult to learn and adjust when I cannot see my work, along with my tutors corrections, on paper.” In addition to the difficulty students encounter with remote tutoring sessions, they are also extremely expensive. Tutors can range from $80-$200 an hour, and it is recommended that these meetings are held at least two times a week. This is clearly an immense amount of money for just one hour of assistance from these professionals, especially if they do not have nearly the same effect as in-person. For such an expensive rate, students should be reaching their full potential with the SATS, and these inadequate sessions are putting students at a disadvantage. Just like school, learning over the computer comes with many distractions, as students struggle to grasp specific concepts at home. 

Not only was communication an issue, but senior Max Kaul also noticed a loss of motivation. When there are not strict, set meeting dates in person, it is more difficult for students to hold themselves to the same standard. Max shares, “When I was not sitting with my tutor taking practice tests, I tended to get distracted easily and lose motivation to finish.” Having a tutor assign students work to complete on their own time is not nearly as beneficial as completing it alongside them, as it’s easier for the tutor to watch over as he/she completes their assignments.

As a result, Max decided to refrain from taking the SATs. He will no longer be providing schools with his test scores, and therefore he cannot apply to specific colleges of interest. This problem prevents him from attending schools that at one point, were of great interest to him. He saw a future for himself at specific universities, and now he can no longer have that future. University of Florida and Florida State University were taken off of his application list because of these unfortunate circumstances. 

Students typically take standardized tests many times before submitting a final score to ensure the best results. In past years, attending several test dates was very easy to schedule for students, but this year it is another major issue. Senior, Makaela Kurschus, shares that “there were less testing dates available, and the testing dates that were available would fill up extremely fast.” With this, students’ success is limited.