After receiving many communications from Admissions Offices across the country, Mr. Cordero in the Guidance Office feels that this message from William R. Fitzsimmons of Harvard University (edited below) accurately summarizes the approach of most colleges and universities in the United States. Hopefully this will help ease your mind as you continue to make choices and prepare to apply to colleges. Most importantly, call admissions officers and ask questions before making any decisions.
On Standardized Testing: We know that there are fewer opportunities to take the SAT or ACT given the cancellations to date. This means that many students may not be able to take these tests more than once. The fact is, there are diminishing returns in taking these tests multiple times, and we hope students will not feel compelled to do so now or in the future. Students will not be disadvantaged in any way if they do not submit subject tests. Similarly, students will not be disadvantaged if they are unable to submit AP results. Standardized testing is only one of many factors considered in any admissions process.
Spring Semester Grades: We know that many students will only be able to present pass/fail grades or other similar marks on their transcripts this spring. They will not be disadvantaged as a result. (At Lincoln Academy, you will be able to present third trimester grades on your transcript)
Whole Person Review: Colleges and universities will continue to look at the whole person as they consider applications next year – as always. Accomplishments in and out of the classroom during the high school years – including community involvement, employment, and help given to your family – will all be considered. Students who find themselves limited in the activities they can pursue due to the current coronavirus outbreak will not be disadvantaged as a result.
Financial Aid: As was the case during the economic downturn a decade ago and in similar situations before, many school’s financial aid programs will not be compromised. Admissions offices are ready to help and students can use net price calculators found on every school’s websites to get estimates of the aid their families would receive. Please do not hesitate to call your colleges of interest with any questions you have about financial aid.
Source: A Letter from William R. Fitzimmons, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Harvard University, April 2020