McMurry University and Abilene Christian University are offering students an option to skip submitting scores from SAT or ACT tests as they apply for the 2020-2021 school year. The tests themselves have been suspended. Hardin-Simmons hasn’t announced specific adjustments to its admissions policies. McMurry President Sandra Harper said in a statement that the university is working to accommodate the needs of students and families who’s college planning process is being disrupted by the COVID-19 situation.
ACU's Vice President for Enrollment Management, Tamara Long, says most Seniors have already made their school decisions, and her department is working with the Provost's office to consider extending "test-optional" applications for Juniors who begin applying this Summer.
“There's a lot of anxiety and stress among those families right now,” Long says. "I see the urgency of us creating and removing barriers and creating processes that disarm the anxieties, allow us to ascertain the best possible students and abilities and we know we can do that with high school information."
Many high school students visit the colleges they are considering attending on designated preview days in the spring semester. ACU went digital with its event. Organizers quickly created a virtual campus visit day. More than 1,200 high schoolers attended online. That's more than seven times the number of students who would attend a one-day in-person tour.
Long says ACU is trying to keep as much of the same timeline by opening orientation registration this past week.
"They are then guided through modules that are released about every week and they are timely. Right now it's about keeping them excited about their choice and letting them know what's coming on the horizon."
The university created the online system a few years ago and now depend on its continued success to help students prepare from a distance, according to Long. As universities across the country develop new ways to prepare students for enrollment they are also looking at big questions about what happens if students cannot return to campuses in August.
"Enrollment people need to be thinking of, and university people need to be talking about what we do if we don’t.” Long says recruiters need to ask, "How do we continue to bring students into our mission and journey?”
Long says she’s grateful that ACU is not alone in facing these challenges because all universities are figuring this out together.