On March 9, just as many high schoolers have done since 1959, juniors at West Henderson will take the ACT this year. However, not unlike many other typicalities of high school, the testing plan looks a bit different due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While many colleges and universities have already decided to extend their test-optional policies for applicants from 2022 applicants, and some even through 2023 and 2024, students are still determined to take the test in order to submit their best scores to schools. Especially as an effect of the UNC system announcing that they plan to resume requiring either the ACT or SAT in the fall of 2022, students at West are still taking the ACT. 

Although students planning to apply to out-of-state schools in 2022 may not see the benefits to taking the ACT or SAT if they aren’t going to be required to submit a test score, most merit scholarships awarded by universities are based on scores.

Many students in North Carolina have had stress and difficulties taking either college entrance exam during the past year due to pandemic-related closures. Being able to take the test at school has many advantages, but students are concerned that others might not comply with the mask mandates or social distancing while testing.

“Some people can be really inconsiderate, so I’m sure someone is bound to take off their mask or wear it improperly during testing,” junior Emma Zaborowski said. This becomes especially important knowing that the exam is over three hours long and it is known that extended exposure to someone who may be asymptomatic is a risk for COVID-19.

Students may be taking the ACT like usual, but there are several factors to the test that will be different this time around. Unlike other years, students will not have to complete a writing or essay portion. Students also have to fill out their usual pre-bubbling sheets either online at myact.org or as a paper that was sent home with them.

During non-pandemic years, freshmen, sophomores, and seniors typically don’t have much change to their schedules as a result of the testing. However, much like many other arrangements due to the pandemic, asynchronous classes will not occur for all grade levels and most students will not be expected to join any Google Meets for their classes, giving students a chance to catch up on work before the grading period ends on March 11. The reasoning for this change in scheduling is that, because of the testing groups that will consist of about 10 students, most teachers will be proctoring exams. B-day students are also expected to attend in-person school on March 10 instead of coming on the same day that the ACT is administered.

Although the class of 2022 is going to be the third class to have their senior year and college application process impacted by the pandemic, West aims to aid students as much as possible while keeping them and staff members safe.

By: Allison Caskey, Feature Writer

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