The COVID-19 pandemic may have fundamentally altered many aspects of education. One less appreciated area of focus is on how the college admissions process has been affected. Recent books by Jeffrey Selingo on who gets in and why, Ron Lieber on the price you pay, and Colin Diver on the influence of the ranking industry, all provide current overviews of the landscape, economics, psychology, and politics of higher education, at least up to the point when the pandemic entered our lives. However, what is really needed is solid research on how the pandemic might have impacted higher education and the admissions process. For example, whether and why students decide to submit their SAT or ACT scores to colleges when the pandemic pushed colleges to adopt test-optional admissions policies is important to understand.
Fortunately, many different groups have started initiatives to tackle these issues. One group I’m leading is the education working group of the Association for Psychological Science global collaboration on COVID-19, where we recently had an academic rockstar panel discussing the role of psychological science in addressing the case of COVID-19 and the college admissions process. In addition, a special issue from Perspectives on Psychological Science examining graduate school admissions was published along with expert commentary.
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