OSKALOOSA – High school seniors applying to William Penn University have one less thing to worry about amid the coronavirus pandemic.
With Decision Day looming, WPU has joined several colleges and universities across the nation in waiving their ACT and SAT requirements for the Fall 2020 semester.
Concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in the cancellation and postponement of ACT and SAT test sites nationwide. As of now, ACT tests have been rescheduled for June 13 and SAT tests have been rescheduled from May 2 to June 6. In a press release, WPU President John Ottosson said a testing location should not be the determining factor for a person deciding not to attend college.
“We are aware of the many difficulties occurring for prospective students due to COVID-19; a lack of access to testing sites should not be a barrier to anyone wishing to attend college this Fall,” he said. “William Penn University believes that every individual has value and deserves access to a quality education. Waiving ACT and SAT scores for students during this time of uncertainty is in line with our values.”
Since scoring on the two standardized tests are used to help determine what level of classes students would need to take once accepted, WPU Director of Admissions Madison Steinke said the school will now look at student’s transcripts to see what types of courses students took while in high school.
“We will be looking at their transcripts to see if they’ve taken any dual credit courses,” she said. “We do have a test that they are able to take to see if they want to test out of the remedial courses if they don’t have ACT or SAT scores.”
WPU has also made changes to how they are offering tours of the school and meetings with admissions counselors with social distancing being encouraged now more than ever as new details about the spread of COVID-19 are coming out. The school is now offering virtual tours for prospective students and parents and meetings with counselors will be held using Zoom, a web-based video conferencing tool. Steinke said she hopes that these changes are helpful to prospective students as the university looks forward to welcoming “incoming students to Statesmen Nation in the fall.”
William Penn isn’t the only school in Iowa to make modifications to their admissions requirements amid this pandemic. At this time, Iowa State University has decided to extend its deadline to submit test scores since both the ACT and SAT tests have been pushed back until June and scores won’t be ready until mid-June.
ISU Admission Counselor Rafael Mendoza said if these tests were to be canceled as well, the admissions department would then determine whether to waive the scores altogether or reassess to see what steps would need to be taken.
Des Moines Area Community College Director of Enrollment Services and Registrar Dr. Steve Pankey said while ACT scores are welcome, they are not required as they are only one tool the school allows students to submit. DMACC also uses Accuplacer and ALEKS as assessment tools and both tests can be administered virtually.
Pankey also said many academic programs at the college have made the decision to temporarily waive test requirements altogether so that students “are able to seamlessly enter college this fall.”
On Friday, April 10 Governor Kim Reynolds announced the suspension of state graduation requirements for the Class of 2020. Oskaloosa High School Principal Stacy Bandy said as of now the school has 134 high school seniors preparing to graduate. As the school awaits the official word for the Iowa Department of Education on the suspension of those requirements, Bandy said the priority right now is making sure students have what they need as they prepare to transition out of high school.
“For those students that were behind in credits, I know the requirements aren’t there, but we are trying to figure out what they need so that they can move on,” Bandy said. “It does give us time to help get those seniors to the next level, it’s a plus. It helps every school because we’re just trying to figure out how we can move these kids forward and anything she does in that realm that can help, that is a plus.”
Bandy went on to thank students and parents for their patience as teachers and administration at OHS continue to come up with new ways to navigate distant learning struggles.