Back to the Basics

I recently discussed the current disruption in education and the college admisisons process, as well as how as a company we have adjusted our services for clients, with Danielle McKinney of Comstocks Magazine, a local business publication in Sacramento, California.

The following is an excerpt:

COVID-19 prompted all Ivy League schools to make SAT and ACT scores for admissions optional during the 2020-21 academic year. Will this make the admissions process easier?

Test optional means that they (students) do not have to submit scores, but if they do have a score, they can submit it for consideration. And then the admissions officer will use it at their discretion. But they won’t be disqualified from being considered for admissions if they don’t have a score. It’s precipitated because students don’t have access right now. All of the SATs and ACTs have been canceled since March and that’s ongoing. SATs were recently just canceled for a wide swath of students in August — it’s happening in pockets, but in California, at least our students aren’t taking the test. So in order to ensure the greatest access, it is being waived so that we can still give access to this fall 2020-21 class of seniors to college. 

There’s an added layer of challenge because what you have is a cohort of 17-year-olds who for their entire lifetime have been expecting admissions to look a particular way, which included SATs and ACTs. We’re talking about multi-generations who know this as an integral part of the admissions process. And now all of a sudden, because of the cancellations, people aren’t sure exactly how to think of the admissions process. (Test scores) are a metric for U.S. News & World Report rankings of colleges. It’s on every admission statistic website. Now students are missing that, and parents are missing that too.

We forecast that the admissions process will have a greater degree of subjectivity in the evaluation because admissions officers are just going to do a greater degree of interpretation of a student’s experience. So we are talking about that, but as far as our advice, it remains core. For us, our advice centers on who the student is; who is that person? What are their qualities and characteristics? What are their aptitudes? We spend the majority of our advising time really reflecting on who the kid is. 

Read the full Comstocks article, Still Processing for more tips and information about the current state of education. 

For more information about how Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, a UC San Diego and Harvard alum, helps students and parents navigate the complex college admissions process, even more complicated with COVID-induced changes for Fall 2021, contact her at

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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