Juniors and seniors in high school are accustomed to feeling the college search and admissions process’s stress. However, 2020 posed a more significant challenge: what would become of college during COVID? Canceled ACTs and SATs with little notice; extracurriculars halted, and classes made a tumultuous switch to the digital form. In short, this is an unprecedented time for education.
When the COVID-19 pandemic sent schools into a sense of disarray and uncertainty, counselors and educators knew college admissions would change dramatically. The common determining factors like test scores, extracurriculars, and the personal statement based upon a student’s achievements, could not very well be applied to a large majority of potential applicants.
Fortunately, colleges are planning to be flexible and open to new ideas in the coming admissions seasons. Todd Rinehart, the president of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling. adds, “If the pandemic had a genuine effect on your family circumstances and your ability to do well at school, that’s an important part of your story.”
In June 2020, more than 300 admissions deans released a statement in conjunction with Turning the Tide, which aims to increase admissions equity and access and other education equality goals. The message encouraged college applicants to speak candidly of their pandemic experiences, such as challenges faced and challenges overcome. According to the Making Caring Common Project faculty director Richard Weissbourd, Ed.D., activities like running errands for your grandparents, tutoring your siblings, or starting a small side business are meaningful stories to tell. The Common App, used by over 900 colleges, now includes an extra field where students can tell their pandemic story and how it affected their lives.
We have compiled a few tips based on experiences and research as a virtual academy before, during, and, assumably, after the pandemic.
Test scores are not everything.
Nationally, colleges have suspended their testing requirement this year. If you choose not to submit any scores with your application, admissions officers will not dock your eligibility with so many other factors to consider.
For those who had the opportunity to take the SATs or ACTs, it can be beneficial to include them based on the score. Consider discussing your applications with your school’s guidance counselors.
Take advantage of virtual offerings.
Most colleges have pivoted to provide virtual offerings like student/parent panels and virtual campus tours to remain open and informational for potential students. Some are even interactive and provide students the ability to live chat with a current student.
Daily information sessions, virtual campus tours, and live chats with admissions counselors and current students are readily available, and you can learn about as many colleges as you want from the comfort of your home.
Focus on your academics until the very end.
With many obstacles in spring and summer 2020, academics may have slipped as circumstances have remained out of your control. It is vital to push forward; a renewed focus on your academics this fall will demonstrate to colleges that you are still determined and demonstrate your resilience and ability to overcome challenges.
FDA can help prepare your college-bound student.
Ready to start planning ahead for secondary education? Get in touch with an advisor at Fairborn Digital Academy to discuss the right educational path for you.