College Admissions In the time of COVID
Updated: Mar 18
With the Coronavirus closing schools and colleges across the United States, it can be understandable for students and their families to feel anxious, which is why I want to take some time to talk about what's going on for current seniors who are receiving their admissions decisions over the next few weeks along with the juniors and sophomores who face a bit more uncertainty on how to proceed in the months ahead.
First, let's talk about high school seniors. This is terrible timing. I'm sorry you guys are going through this. Not only will this potentially affect your senior activities like prom and senior trips as well as other traditions, but this may also affect your decision on where and how far you want to venture for college. While many colleges have canceled Accepted Student Days and onsite campus visits, colleges are working hard to make themselves available online via 1-on-1 Zoom calls, virtual events, and tours.
You may also be worried about trying to make your decision by May 1st which has traditionally been College Decision Day. How can you make a decision when you haven't had a chance to visit the school? Admissions hears you and more and more are updating their Decision Date to be June 1st with the hopes that our country will be running again by then. To check out the full list as it is being updated, click here.
Next, let's talk about the juniors as there may be quite a few thoughts on your mind. For some of you, the SATs or ACTs were canceled this past weekend. Then you found out that CollegeBoard just canceled the makeup test for the SAT for later this month as well as the April test. The ACT just postponed its April test to be in June. Then there's the question of AP exams and subject tests. I get it...there's a lot of moving pieces.
First, take this time to prep for your later test. You have been granted more time to study for them. Many educational resources are free for these next few weeks and months, including the mini-workshops I will be giving for free on my Parents Passionate about College Admissions Facebook page. Take advantage of them.
There will be tests in June, August, and September, so you have more opportunities ahead of you. Testing companies are going to try to do the right thing.
Next, know that admissions and educators are trying to also do the right thing and some have already announced that they will be going test-optional for the upcoming admissions season. You can also help reduce your stress by balancing your list with some test-optional schools. You can find the list here.
Now, how about all this 'free' time you guys have now? First, spend it taking care of your health and that of your families. Most high school students are overworked and sleep-deprived. Catch up on sleep first. Your body will thank you. It will also help you stay healthy.
Next, take some time to think about all the things you've wanted to do but haven't had a chance to but can still do virtually. Here's a few to get you started.
1) Help your community. While it is encouraged to stay at home to flatten the curve and only run out for the necessities, think about how you can help your local community. Do you have elderly or immune-compromised neighbors? Can you help do their grocery shopping for them? Love kids and are not sick? Perhaps you can offer free childcare for people who have to work, like doctors and nurses or those that need to be working at grocery stores and pharmacies.
2) Explore your intellectual interests. Here are 450 free Ivy League courses, plus you can also check out Coursera for free courses.
3) Spend some time indulging in your personal interests. From listening to free opera from the Met to learning how to draw, follow your heart and see where it leads. Perhaps you'll find a new passion, like cooking.
4) Work on the college admissions process through taking the time to research your college list and major more. Spend more time building relationships with your teachers, counselors, and colleges virtually. Get a head start on your personal statement. The prompts are out for Common App.
5) Connect. Connect with your loved ones. With Facetime and the internet, being physically separated doesn't mean you can't grow closer with the ones in your home or ones that are not nearby.
What are you planning to do? Wishing everyone good health!