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Students applying for college in limbo as COVID stalls the release of ACT scores

Posted at 4:14 PM, Aug 17, 2020

The ACT, the standardized test used for college admissions, has a backlog of scores that still have not gone out to students, and it is causing some to miss out on applying to schools and scholarships.

“There’s a lot of anxiety riding on it,” said Sarah Horner, whose daughter, Riley, who hopes to go to the University of Illinois next year. “I’ve watched her get all excited to take [the ACT], and [now] she’s just done, and that’s how a lot of the kids are.”

As a senior in high school, Horner is waiting on scores from her ACT, a test she was scheduled to take in April but was not able to until June.

“It’s been very tough watching her struggle,” said Horner “And it’s not just me. There are parents all over the United States that are just as upset about this.”

Once COVID hit, ACT tests were canceled and rescheduled for the summer. At the same time, the ACT had scheduled to launch a new website feature that overloaded its system and caused it to crash.

For parents and students who typically receive scores within two to three weeks of the test, it left them scrambling to find recourse.

“It’s devastating. Yes, it is honestly devastating,” said Cecilia Walker, whose son, Seth, was supposed to take the test in March but was rescheduled for July.

“It’s pretty much universal,” Seth Walker said. “All of my friends are having the same issues of getting hung up on by the ACT.”

Walker is confident he will get into Auburn University. What he is not confident about is the $32,000 per year scholarship he is applying for since he hasn't received his ACT score.

“It’s the difference between a $32,000 a year scholarship and nothing,” said Cecilia Walker. “[For] parents that have been planning that, all of that has been pulled out within a year of your student going to college.”

In an email, the ACT said, "We know this has been extremely frustrating for parents and students. For weeks, we’ve been working non-stop to improve the experience of engaging with ACT, and we’ll continue to do so to ensure students have every opportunity to achieve success.”

It added it will continue to roll out scores through August 31.