MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The coronavirus pandemic is making college admissions even more challenging for graduating seniors.
Florida is one of only two states in the U.S. still requiring SAT and ACT scores, but testing sites are scarce.
“It’s just crazy because we’re literally in the hotspot,” said Marjory Stoneman Douglas senior Michelle Lapidot.
She told Local 10 News' Laryon Livingston that she has registered for around half-a-dozen SAT and ACT tests since May, only to have them all cancelled because of COVID-19.
“Even one I drove all the way to Tampa, and I get there, I was ready at 8 in the morning, I was at the school and the doors just never opened,” she said.
It’s not just an inconvenience, but an injustice, in her opinion, for those who have no other options since Florida state schools require those exams for admission.
“The whole point of public school is to give everyone an equal and fair opportunity,” Lapidot said. “Now they can’t even do that. it just shows you how broken the system is.”
Bob Scaeffer is with the National Center for Fair and Open Testing and he said about 70 percent of four-year colleges in the country will not require applicants to submit ACT and SAT scores for the 2021 school year.
“Florida is the only significant holdout among those,” Scaeffer said. "The primary factors are politics and ideology. Florida has bought into high stakes testing as a way to improve our schools, rather than investing resources, paying teachers adequately, or improving curriculum, and that magical fantasy means that they have to keep testing in place even when it doesn’t work.
The Florida Board of Governors oversees 12 state schools. In a statement, a board spokesperson acknowledges the trying times and says the board, “...is actively engaged in discussions with the universities on SAT/ACT admission requirements and working with The College Board and ACT Inc. to monitor the availability of both tests.”
Students who haven’t taken their tests can still try to sit for the fall exams.
Lapidot said she’s scheduled to try again this weekend, if her test isn’t cancelled.
“Mine wasn’t on the list, yet, but we’ll see,” she said.