Welcome back to the new school year! While everything is different, you should continue with your college search and application process. Colleges are adapting to the changes caused by the pandemic on an ongoing basis, so be sure to stay current by checking in regularly with individual school websites, College Board and ACT’s sites as well as other college admissions related resources.
Here are a few things to focus on for this fall semester:
- Reach out to your guidance or college counselor. In order to navigate your college admissions process in this time of uncertainty, seek out your guidance counselor for help. Make an appointment and have ready a list of questions, concerns and ideas to discuss.
- Decide whether you are going to take standardized tests. Although there are many schools now waiving the standardized test requirement, you may still consider submitting test scores if you feel they will enhance your application. Talk to your parents and guidance counselor to formulate your plan.
- Continue with your college search. Although most schools are currently not offering campus visits, college websites feature virtual tours offering an excellent way to view the campus and it’s facilities and are also holding online information sessions. Schedule calls with admissions officers and reach out to students you know and talk to them about their experiences.
- Focus on your schoolwork. With so many schools eliminating the test requirement, your grades and the rigor of your courses will play a greater role in demonstrating your academic qualifications for any given college.
- Work on your essays and applications if you’re a senior. If you feel it’s important to discuss how Covid -19 has impacted you, both personally and academically, the Common App is offering a space to do so on your application.
- Request teacher recommendations. As a senior, if you have not already done so, now is the time to reach out to two recommenders for your applications.
Stay open minded and be flexible in your approach to your college search and application process and remember that high school students across the nation are facing similar challenges.
This 2020 graduation season is unlike any that has come before. Graduates, you may find yourselves holding a mask and maybe a protest sign along with your diploma. You are all unique and accomplished in so many different ways and we want to celebrate you and congratulate all on your high school graduation.
So many noteworthy virtual commencement addresses were given. We share a few with you here:
“It’s OK to not be OK right now.” Alicia Keys
“Every thought in your mind is powerful. Every word you speak is powerful. Every action you take has consequences for yourself and your community.” Beyonce
“In an uncertain world, time tested values like honesty and integrity, empathy and compassion— that’s the only real currency in life.” Michelle Obama
“You have gained your education. Now it’s time you go out and use it for the betterment of the world.” Malala Yousafzai
“America changed, and has always changed, because young people dared to hope.” President Barak Obama
College Board is postponing plans to offer an at home digital version of the SAT. AP exams, despite initial problems in May, will be offered digitally in June. ACT, as of now, is still planning to offer a digital remote option in the fall.
We’ll continue to keep you updated as the standardized testing situation continues to evolve.
If you have not yet completed your application process, are not happy with your outcome or if you are reconsidering your options, given changed circumstances due to the pandemic, check out National Association of College Admissions Counseling’s College Openings Update. This list provides a directory of over 400 colleges and universities with openings, financial aid and housing still available to qualified first year and transfer students for the fall 2020 semester.
Make use of the Update to search for schools through the use of various filters, including state and country. Both public and private universities are included on the list. This is an excellent resource and will continue to be revised as colleges and universities finalize their admission numbers for 2020/21.
The college admissions process is undergoing significant changes amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The most significant change in the application evaluation process is the elimination of the standardized test score requirement. Following the announcement by many small private colleges, the University of California, the largest public university system in the country, joined the growing list of schools phasing out the SAT and ACT requirements. As this is an evolving situation and schools are continuing to respond to the current environment, make sure you are staying in touch with news of schools adding their name to this list.
Some students may want to take the exams, as they are still required by highly competitive schools and mat be used to award scholarships, determine course placement and evaluate out-of-state students.
With the more widespread elimination of test scores for admissions assessments, how are you going to differentiate yourself as a candidate? Criteria for admissions include your academic performance, rigor of coursework, extracurricular involvement and recommendations. The good news is you have plenty of time to focus on your school work and pursue activities that are meaningful to you.
During this unusual time find ways to get engaged and involve yourself in something that matters to you. Summer is also a good time to assess and plan ahead. Do a bit of research on schools to understand testing requirements and admissions criteria. Although this is a very early look, it’s a good way to become familiar with your options going forward. There are many online tools available to help you begin your college search process. Spend time searching college websites, take virtual tours and read what students have to say about their school. When school begins in the fall, plan to review your findings with your guidance counselor.