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Coronavirus might have just made it easier to get into Harvard

Published Jun 17th, 2020 6:03PM EDT
Coronavirus US
Image: Steven Senne/AP/Shutterstock

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  • More and more of daily life in America continues to change as the coronavirus’ US toll continues to be felt almost everywhere you look.
  • One of the latest examples is on the college admissions front. Harvard has announced it’s temporarily not requiring the inclusion of ACT/SAT standardized test scores along with student application materials.
  • Most of the Ivy League schools are now following this same practice, with only Princeton still carrying this standardized test requirement for applicants.

The coronavirus’ US impact has been so unrelentingly massive, touching almost every facet of daily life in America, and yet I’ve still been surprised at some of the changes I didn’t necessarily see coming that are starting to materialize as a result of the virus.

Take, for example, how musicians are getting extra creative right now in terms of how they use live music to connect with fans. Nobody will be visiting a stadium or arena to see a live show anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean artists will be unable to play for fans at all. Country singer Garth Brooks, for example, will be playing a concert aired live at drive-in theaters across the US later this month (on June 27). On a different note, another coronavirus-inspired change that hadn’t occurred to me before is shaking things up a bit for the college Class of 2025 — most Ivy League schools, now, have dropped the ACT/SAT testing requirement temporarily, to take into account the difficulty students would have in actually taking one of those tests in-person right now.

A statement Harvard posted on its website Monday reads, in part: “Harvard College will allow students to apply for admission to the Class of 2025 without requiring standardized test scores. We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has created insurmountable challenges in scheduling tests for all students, particularly those from modest economic backgrounds, and we believe this temporary change addresses these challenges.”

The college goes on to add that standardized test scores were always one factor among many used to weigh applications, and Harvard is promising that any student who doesn’t submit ACT/SAT test scores for the coming year won’t be disadvantaged during the application process. Those students’ applications “will be considered on the basis of what they have presented, and they are encouraged to send whatever materials they believe would convey their accomplishments in secondary school and their promise for the future.”

Princeton appears to be the only Ivy League school at the time of this writing that still has a standardized test score requirement as part of the admissions process. And speaking of this testing-related change that Harvard has made, the school has said it plans to operate this fall — though some or maybe even all class instruction might shift to an online format.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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