Strange times we’re in, aren’t they?
If you’re a high school student or parent, it’s likely your head is spinning as you try to understand how the Coronavirus is going to impact you, regardless of where you’re at in your college admissions journey. While this is a fluid situation, and there are many aspects of it that we cannot be certain about at this time, there are a few potential impacts that COVID-19 will have on the admissions process this fall (and potentially even for years to come).
First, I’ll address you seniors out there.
At this point in April, you’ve likely heard back from every college and are now in the process of making your decision. In a perfect world, you’d be able to attend admitted student days and (re)visit campus, which would help you learn more about the school and prepare you to either make a commitment or choose another school.
Of course, the majority of college campuses across the country are shut down and not accepting visitors or hosting on-campus admitted student days. But fear not! Most colleges have shifted seamlessly to virtual sessions for students to interact with students, ask questions of admissions officers, and learn just as much online as they would if they were physically present on campus.
I’m also encouraging my seniors to go back to the notes they took when they were originally researching colleges, looking over their likes and dislikes from their previous online research, visits to campus, etc. Sometimes it’s easy to forget what you loved (or did not love) about a college when you’re in the middle of the search, so revisiting that feedback now can give you a reminder of what your thoughts were back then.
Another big change that we’re noticing is the pushing back of the National Candidate’s Reply Date of May 1st. While some colleges are still holding firm to this commitment deadline, many colleges are giving you until June 1st to commit and pay your enrollment deposit. If you need this additional time to gather your information, and your colleges are offering it, take it!
Now, for you juniors.
I’ve fielded many questions and had many conversations with concerned juniors and their parents about how this mess is going to impact them in the fall.
One of the biggest changes I’ve seen so far is that many colleges have made the move to test optional admissions, meaning you do not need to submit an SAT or ACT score for consideration.
Let me be clear: this does NOT mean you should forgo these tests. In fact, they are likely still going to hold a lot of weight for scholarships, so you should remain active with your study routine and plan to take them—either again or for the first time—when the next dates become available.
And PLAN AHEAD! Every one of your fellow juniors is in the exact same boat as you are, so the spots for these tests are likely to fill up fast.
Another change I’m keeping my eyes open for are extended application
deadlines. If students are testing later into the fall, colleges may be more
willing to accept those later test dates or bump back their application
While it seems that change is happening in so many areas of life right now, one thing remains the same: your ability to work ahead. Think of it this way, you’re “stuck” at home, likely with more time on your hands. Why not use that time to research colleges online (there are many great tools you can use to do this!), study for the SAT/ACT, and keep up with your academics via virtual learning? There’s no reason you should be falling behind during this “Coronacation.”
Pro tip: I wouldn’t be shocked to see some colleges using this as an essay question on next year’s applications. If they ask you what you did to remain productive during this pandemic, what will you say?
The College Dream Builder Admissions Team is actively monitoring the situation and working with our students to make sure they are moving ahead. It’s business as usual for us here, and we encourage you to adapt that same mentality!
Until next time,
Director of College Admissions