The ripple effects of COVID-19 are just starting to make their impacts. It’s safe to say that the coronavirus has upended the college admission process for the coming year. You probably have a lot of questions and colleges are just starting to make adjustments to their admission process for next year. Here are some of the topics that students and colleges are grappling with:
I was going to take the May SAT but it is canceled.
CollegeBoard and ACT have been monitoring the pandemic in an attempt to provide students with options. Currently the June 6 SAT is still scheduled. ACT has tests scheduled for June 13 (rescheduled from April) and July 18. However, it’s true that you may only have one opportunity to take the test. As a result, many colleges have announced they are going to be test optional (at least for the 2020-2021 application year). FairTest has a list of test optional schools and schools that will be temporarily test optional.
All of my activities are canceled for spring – what should I put on my activity list?
Colleges understand – no sports, no spring performances, no student council or volunteer hours. Your activity list may look a bit different than what you had planned. Maybe it will include all the books you read while staying at home, a new language you taught yourself on Duolingo, or the tech support you offered your grandmother so you could all keep in touch. If necessity is the mother of invention, maybe boredom is the mother of creativity. Time to get creative.
We are doing online learning – they say our grades will be pass/fail.
Colleges are going to be making a lot of adjustments to the way they consider applications. Don’t panic about your grades not looking like they normally would. High schools across the country are doing their best in this unprecedented situation. Many colleges are doing the same for their own students – offering them the option to have pass/fail grades. They will be understanding of whatever your school decided for grading.
I think COVID-19 will make a great essay topic.
It’s possible that the pandemic has changed your school/life experience in dramatic ways. It would be natural to think this would make a perfect college essay. But don’t forget, many students are sharing this same experience. You want your college essay to stand out, attract attention, or be remembered by the admission staff. Consider whether your experience or perspective is unique. You don’t want to be just another coronavirus essay…
What about college visits?
Many juniors were planning college tours for spring break and those in person tours were likely canceled. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to get to know a college. Take an online tour, attend a virtual admission events, chat with student tour guides, follow a school on Instagram and comment on a post. Not only does this help you gather information, but colleges also track these online connections as part of “demonstrated interest.” Some colleges consider demonstrated interest in the admission process. Hopefully, in person visits will resume in the fall.
The best advice as always is to stay informed. Visit the websites for the colleges you are considering to find updates on admission policies and requirements and be in touch with your advisor about changes to your upcoming applications. NACAC is providing this online resource to students and families as a centralized place where you can check for updates on all your schools.