The Wall Street Journal: Is it harder to get into college in 2021?


The pandemic upended the college-admissions process this year. Here’s what students and their families need to know about admissions, wait lists and acceptance rates.

The college-admissions process changed this year.

Admissions officers typically review students’ grades, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, essays and recommendation letters. But the pandemic has upended the process, with grade point averages complicated by the spring 2020 semester, and many extracurriculars canceled.

One of the biggest changes was the cancellation of sessions to take standardized tests. More than 1,600 four-year colleges didn’t require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores, which led to an increase in the number of students applying to selective colleges that are test optional. This year, there was a substantial decrease in the number of students who sent standardized test scores to colleges. Forty-six percent of students who used the Common App to apply to college submitted standardized test scores this year compared with 77% last year.

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