ACT Testing Becomes More Complicated due to Lockdowns, Restrictions

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Seniors now have to study for the ACT on top of doing work for their final year of highschool. Because of this, seniors are now concerned with how their scores are going to turn out.

Aman Pai, Staff Writer

The ACT is a huge part of the college application process and can be tedious to prepare for and take. Traditionally, Parkway high schools have set aside a day every April to allow juniors to take the test during school at no costs.However, the Class of 2021 were denied that opportunity last year since school went into e-Learning and the ACT testing day was cancelled.

“I was going to take the ACT beforehand. When it got cancelled, I was slightly concerned because I wanted to have a good ACT score I could use for college applications. So far the ACT being pushed back has not affected my college applications because I have planned to possibly start in spring rather than fall with everything going on,” said senior Alex Smothers.

Since April, the ACT has had to cancel more tests all over the country due to social distancing guidelines and fears about COVID-19. Senior Sasha Trejo-Arciles experienced this when her testing date in July got canceled.

“It was very frustrating when the ACT got canceled as it postponed a lot of my plans. This has deeply affected my college application process,” said Trejo-Arciles. “I was supposed to be done with taking the ACT before the school year started, but now I’m trying to balance studying for the ACT along with college applications and regular school work.”

To help seniors who were unable to take the test in April and even later in the summer, Parkway North High is running its own test, on Oct. 20, so that seniors would have an opportunity to complete the ACT. This test would be similar to the one that would have occurred on April 7, although with more precautions to ensure the safety of the seniors and staff members.

“We are expecting around 115 seniors to take the test this date. The test will go as normal, but instead of in individual classrooms, we will be using two gym spaces to social distance students as much as we can,” said College and Career Coordinator Katie Meyers.

Students who are taking the ACT on that date will be expected to wear a mask at all times while in the building, fill out a health screening questionnaire prior to entering the building and follow social distancing guidelines.

“The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority, so we will be following all Parkway and ACT guidelines for mask-wearing, social distancing and hand sanitation. More information will be released to students that are registered for this exam next week,” said Meyers.

To help relieve the concerns of these seniors, several universities have decided to make test score submissions more flexible. Schools may ask for letters of recommendations, personal statements, etc. from students in addition to or in lieu of ACT scores.

“Many universities, even some of our most prestigious schools have gone test-optional or test-flexible when reviewing applicants for admission and scholarships,” said Meyers. “Some schools will even let students submit test scores as late as April.”
However, Trejo-Arciles and Smothers have stated that they would submit test scores regardless.

“My future college is waiving the ACT, however, I will still be submitting scores,” said Trejo-Arciles.

In September and October, the ACT has been hosting a test every weekend at sites all over the country, sometimes even putting a test on both Saturday and Sunday, to help students obtain what they need to get into college. However, in these uncertain times, requirements keep changing so it is important for students to keep up with what is expected from them.

“Since schools are ever changing this process, it is important to review each individual school’s website or reach out to their admissions representative to make sure that they understand the individual school’s test-optional policy. Fairtest.org is a great resource that lists universities by state that are now test-optional,” said Meyers.