People around the world are adapting to a new normal. Businesses are reinventing themselves, restaurants are offering delivery and takeout options, television news and late-night shows are broadcasting from home, and colleges and schools across the US have adopted online learning formats. Now that you may be settling in to a different routine, it’s time to refocus your efforts and adopt some new strategies regarding college admission.
Keep Your Grades Up
Many colleges have announced that they will waive the SAT/ACT requirements for Fall 2021 applications. Some are also discussing how to view junior year grades given the abrupt change to online learning and some schools adopting pass/fail grading. Although it’s impossible to predict how every college will review their applications, maintaining a high GPA is the best advice. Check in with your teachers, ask for help, focus on doing your best with what’s asked of you. Having consistently strong grades or even an upward trend can only benefit you in the application process.
Study for AP Exams
The CollegeBoard announced that both the May and June SAT dates have been canceled. This means you can stop thinking about the SAT for now. Instead, focus your efforts on studying for any AP exams you may have. AP exams will be given online meaning that you may want to prepare for the test a bit differently. CollegeBoard has a list of helpful tips in preparing for an online, open book/open notes exam format. Acing your AP exams is another way to show colleges your academic chops and potentially earn college credit saving yourself money and time in the future.
Consider Virtual Volunteering or other Self-driven Extracurriculars
With most school extracurriculars canceled, it’s time to rethink your activity list. There are countless creative ways to demonstrate your skills or interests to a college. Jodi Glou, founder and president of Custom College Consulting, compiled a great list of virtual volunteering opportunities. Virtual volunteering is a great alternative to canceled summer plans and also an opportunity to use your skills to benefit organizations that may no longer have the in-person staff or funding to accomplish their mission.
Don’t stress! Andrew Palumbo, dean of admissions and financial aid at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass, wrote an open letter to high school juniors this week. While he admits that there is a lot to worry about right now, he says grades and SAT scores shouldn’t be on that list. His message to students: “We’ll figure it out together.”