And with many schools going virtual, students say they have less access to guidance … But thanks to a 2019 Department of Justice settlement, you no longer have to withdraw your other applications if you’re admitted early. “If your parents lost their jobs or you lost a loved one, write about it,” says Jeffrey Selingo, author of Who Gets In and Why. But test-optional means test-optional. link to original article Navigating college admissions testing during the pandemic has been wrought with chaos and confusion. Elizabeth Johnson, provost of Post University, Waterbury, Conn. High school seniors should write the essay, even if it’s not required by their school of choice. College admission deans offer 5 tips James Vaznis 6/29/2020. And with many schools going virtual, students say they have less access to guidance counselors who … Sure, we pay attention to your command of language and grammar. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench into a lot of routines, and the college admissions process is no exception. Also, pay attention to deadline changes. But we also want to get a sense of how you think and process information. More schools are "test optional" Schools aren’t the only places that have closed because of COVID. Others are tutoring elementary schoolers online. If something feels inauthentic in an essay, we invite a conversation with that student. Steven Senne/AP. Zaire McCoy, vice president for enrollment management and dean of admission, Rollins College, Winter Park, Fla. To help generate extracurricular ideas during this surreal time, I talked with Shirag Shemmassian, an independent college consultant in San Diego, who helps teenagers with undergraduate admissions, as well as medical school admissions. Among my favorite stories: South Africa’s first black billionaire, Patrice Motsepe, and British diamond jewelry mogul Laurence Graff, both of whom built their vast fortunes from nothing. Crashed website registration, test … It’s hard to evaluate grades when there’s been such unevenness in how schools have responded to this pandemic. I'm To help students navigate the rocky terrain, Forbes talked to enrollment experts and top admissions personnel at a dozen selective institutions. Sometimes we ask for a second writing sample. In some ways, this is a great time to be an applicant because admissions offices are having to critically evaluate everything they do in light of the pandemic. If your school shut down extracurriculars and you lost your summer job, write about what you did instead, either in your personal essay or in the “additional information” section on the Common App. I think about what our relationships might have looked like if the pandemic didn’t socially limit us as much as it did, and I think that the community in my house would have been significantly less close knit and the friendships wouldn’t have been nearly as deep. Students and parents trying to navigate college admissions testing during the pandemic have faced chaos and confusion! Erin Stine, assistant vice president for enrollment, The New School, New York, N.Y. Traditional methods of outreach, recruiting and application review have quickly had to change, and this is an opportunity for students to shine who may not otherwise have been seen as a strong applicant. Some colleges will consider making allowances for students affected by hardships like fires and floods who ask for extensions. Spend time writing a compelling essay, says Angel B. Pérez, head of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. A visitor to our site felt the following article might be of interest to you: College admissions during a pandemic. For the time being, however, higher education institutions must adapt. Without the benefit of campus visits, committing early can be daunting. It will continue to impact students in the coming weeks, months, and even years. Attending college during a global pandemic is a tricky situation, and it can get even more complicated if your student will be attending college in a location that has been overwhelmed by … The pandemic has upended the college admissions process. Despite widespread speculation about the negative impacts of the pandemic on the quality of a college education, a new national survey reveals that the … Are you ready to study at this college and live on this campus? This year the Common Application, the digital form that most schools accept, has an optional question that gives students 250 words to describe their pandemic experiences. © 2021 Forbes Media LLC. According to admissions veterans, selective colleges below the top tier are likely to accept more students early in an effort to lock in a first-year class. How engaging are the online lectures and classes? Remember, we’ll see your transcripts and recommendation letters. How medical schools offer admissions flexibility during pandemic. In virtual and hybrid environments, universities have been forced to capture the college experience in ways that are far more casual and less polished. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. College Admissions in the Pandemic: An Expert’s View. At the onset of the pandemic, many SAT and ACT tests were rescheduled or canceled last minute. On Monday, college admissions officials from across the country offered students some advice. And it isn’t necessary to sit for an exam at all. Here you give a committee a sense of the context in which you experienced high school and how you overcame certain challenges. Classes are currently being taught virtually, but this is not the new normal. However, if a test result is in hand, then a good rule of thumb is to carefully research past entering score ranges for the universities you are considering before deciding whether to submit or not. While the pandemic has not stopped us from continuing to provide high quality academic programs and services to students, it has definitely interrupted the traditional college search. By Dr. Elaine Maimon December 23, 2020 at 8:46 am. Take time to carefully complete and prepare your application before submitting it, and be sure that what you submit reflects you to the greatest extent possible. Tulane, for example, tracks students’ visits to its online tours. If there is doubt about the submission’s authorship, admissions teams may run the essay through plagiarism software to assess if it represents original work. • Take a virtual tour. In the best cases, universities are featuring the strengths of faculty and administration in a far more authentic way. The admissions process has always been time-consuming, complicated and frustrating. The coronavirus pandemic has prompted about 16 percent of prospective students in the U.S. to reconsider their college plans, according to a higher education consulting firm. It is your chance to get a college to know you beyond numbers. Students will also have an opportunity to explain how COVID affected their schooling. The college admissions process is already one of the most stressful times in an adolescent’s life. A student shares her college admissions experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Princeton has suspended its early action program because of the pandemic. If you’re a rising high school junior or senior, you may resist looking too far into the future. The Gazette spoke with Richard Weissbourd, faculty director for Making Caring Common’s Turning the Tide, an HGSE initiative focused on underscoring what is important in college admissions, about the statement and how admissions might permanently change in the wake of the pandemic. Extracurricular tips for college admissions during a pandemic One of collateral damages from COVID-19 is the ability of teenagers to participate in extracurricular activities before applying to college. Stand Out to College Admissions During the Coronavirus Pandemic. Attending college during a global pandemic is a tricky situation, and it can get even more complicated if your student will be attending college in a location that has been overwhelmed by the coronavirus or is far from home. How do you put together a strong application when it’s nearly impossible to take an admissions test, your school switched to pass/fail grades in the crucial spring term of your junior year and your extracurriculars and summer job all got canceled because of the pandemic? Colleges know you had no control over your school’s plans during lockdown. National trends show college application numbers are down, and fewer students are applying for financial aid compared to this time last year. If you had to take your courses pass/fail, don’t sweat it. ORLANDO, Fla. (WILX) - The COVID-19 pandemic has costs millions of Americans their jobs. I don’t think students who deferred their enrollment this year will prevent large numbers of graduating high school seniors from being admitted to top schools. The pandemic and the spread of videoconference technology have leveled the college search playing field by making it easier for students to demonstrate interest, which is way more important than a campus visit. College Admissions During a Pandemic At the onset of the pandemic, many SAT and ACT tests were rescheduled or canceled last minute. You may opt-out by. West Point recently announced applicants can substitute a PSAT for an SAT or ACT. Choosing a college has long been a major decision. Crashed website registration, test cancellations and last-minute shutdowns have forced many to go to extreme lengths to take their exams.Sitting down to take a standardized test can be stressful, but it takes it to another level when […] In February 2018, I took on a new job managing and writing Forbes' education coverage. The good news: College admissions officers feel your pain. The good news is, colleges are going to be far more flexible this year, says Todd Rinehart, president of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling. The pandemic put staff and current and prospective students in quarantine for during the busy admissions season. Most schools aren’t offering in-person tours, but almost all colleges have virtual tours, many with realtime question-and-answer sessions. The Coronavirus Pandemic Disrupts College Admissions Self-isolated at her home in Norwood, Mass., Sophia Serratore has been practicing social distancing, taking virtual campus tours, doing college interviews on Skype and participating in admitted student days on Zoom. Here you can describe — in your own voice — your goals, passions and experiences like no one else. At Forbes magazine I also did a stint editing the lifestyle section and I used to edit opinion pieces by the likes of John Bogle and Gordon Bethune. If your scores sit at or exceed the school’s midpoint, it may benefit you to submit because you’ll be up against students with similar profiles. They will be looking for students to share how they’ve adapted, grown and worked through the challenges that come with our new restricted reality under Covid-19. "College admissions is going to look a lot different after all of this, maybe permanently." The application is a chance for us to hear a student’s story and listen to their voice — that hasn’t changed in 2020, and it is likely more important than ever that we continue to engage in this process from a holistic perspective. Students and families can still address these questions as they move through the process through virtual programming and other opportunities to interact with students, administrators and faculty at colleges of interest. Test scores give you a piece of information, but it is far from a complete picture of a student. I’ve heard lots of worries about academic testing. to try to reach students without internet or computers, driving districts toward a financial “death spiral.”, one of America’s formerly most stable industries, Putting teachers on TV is the latest strategy, Congress is sending more money to schools, but Covid-related costs and declining state funding are, Recent graduates are struggling to get hired as. Gariot P. Louima, vice president for enrollment and student success, Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio. Keep in mind that schools that experienced large gap-year requests this year likely saw smaller enrollment, so there may be additional space in housing and classes next year, as a result. I'd spent the previous two years on the Entrepreneurs team, following six years. Students no longer have to travel to visit campus, which can be costly and time-consuming for families. In terms of authenticity, we work very hard to try to get to know our applicants. The pandemic has upended the college admissions process. According to Grand View University Director of Admissions Ryan Thompson, their applications are down about 10%. • Apply early, but check deadlines. Seth Allen, vice president for strategy and dean of admissions and financial aid, Pomona College, Claremont, Calif. Colleges are worried that the health calamities and concerns and the economic fallout from the pandemic will result in more students declining admission offers. Cross-check that with the admissions information page at the school of your choice. It can affect your career, your income, where you live, your friends and possibly your selection of a mate. Students should pair their research of virtual and hybrid environments with an understanding of what life on campus was like before March. ... Below, he answers questions from The New York Times about getting into college during the Covid-19 pandemic… I'd spent the previous two years on the Entrepreneurs team, following six years writing for the Leadership channel. That is the case at William & Mary, and we stand by that flexibility. More On: Coronavirus. Stand Out to College Admissions During the Coronavirus Pandemic. Such is the case with standardized testing, where many, if not most, colleges across the nation have shifted to a test-optional process for at least this cycle. Colleges that are test-optional in admissions should be the same when it comes to financial aid, but it doesn’t hurt to check with the financial-aid office. This article is part of our latest Learning special report, which focuses on ways that remote learning will shape the future. In California: EDD director resigns, and nearly 12,000 could become homeless again. Extracurricular Activities During COVID-19 Pandemic. Fall 2021 could prove to be a competitive year, but many universities are committed to being as flexible and fair as possible, considering the challenges of the graduating 2020 class. With many college admissions testing sites closing down during the pandemic, as many as 50 percent of early applications arrived without any test scores this year. College entrance exams were rescheduled or canceled. ... Hi! The registration website crashed, and testing sites have been shut down at the last minute. New York has not released state … Tim Wolfe, associate vice president for enrollment and dean of admission, William & Mary, Williamsburg, Va. Applying to college during the pandemic? We will simply focus our review on the many other items in the application that highlight each student’s strengths and perspective. During the pandemic… With regard to the SAT or ACT, ultimately, the decision to apply test-optional is the prospective student’s alone. I actually think the SAT and ACT of today are gone for good, but a new holistic metric will take their place. If students do not send in standardized test scores, they will not be at a disadvantage. For the most part, students are pretty honest in their applications. It will continue to impact students in the coming weeks, months, and even years. A common concern is that because the numbers at some institutions are unusually large, that may impact the number of admissions offers an institution will make for those applying for the Class of 2025. I encourage students to look at online content created both before the pandemic and during. If a university is test-optional, then the test truly is optional. While it’s true that many students chose to take a gap year, the number of college-age students is also in decline. In the last few months, many aspects of our high school life have changed. College enrollment will take a hit after this pandemic and push a look toward trades. I’ve been at Forbes since 1995, writing about everything from books to billionaires. • Don’t worry about your grades. I’m a senior editor in charge of Forbes’ education coverage. (Their comments have been edited and condensed.). This year, for the first time, Tulane applicants can interview remotely. I think the college admissions deans are going to have to get really creative about thinking about other ways to do this. • Show what you did during lockdown. "The pandemic has just had an incredible impact on college admissions. If you’re a rising high school junior or senior, you may resist looking too far into the future. Some of the chapters in the story may appear a bit different this year, or in some cases may be nonexistent. The latest on how the pandemic is reshaping education. Most schools moved online or to take-home packets during the pandemic, and a lot of schools changed their grading policies too. Stu Schmill, MIT’s admissions dean, does not expect students to submit scores. Before that I covered law and lawyers for journalistic stickler, harsh taskmaster and the best teacher a young reporter could have had, Steven Brill. Things that have been sacred through the years to college admissions no longer exist this fall," said Boyles. College admissions are facing unprecedented challenges in 2020. Now they can show interest by signing up for a virtual tour, taking part in a video interview or talking with faculty in an online meet-up. • If you haven’t taken an admissions test, don’t. “The most important thing students can do is safeguard their health and the health of the people around them,” he says. I spent more time with the kids in my house than I probably would have otherwise. And it goes without saying that prospective students should plan to write the essay themselves to ensure it is authentic. But today, during the Covid-19 pandemic, getting into college will be different and in some ways more difficult than ever. But could the grim financial situation lead to more college admissions? recruiting contributors and also looking for my own stories. “We’re going to look at other parts of their application.” Go to FairTest.org for a list of test-optional and test-blind schools. With many college admissions testing sites closing down during the pandemic, as many as 50 percent of early applications arrived without any test scores this year. High school seniors struggle to find all the information needed to make a decision with campuses not holding in-person tours and information sessions. My advice is the same as in a non-pandemic cycle: Fully engage with the application for admission. “Timelines have changed this year,” says Brown University’s Logan Powell. Admissions odds are generally better for those who apply for early decision or early action, but Covid-19—which has affected student visas and travel—magnifies enrollment uncertainty. EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change. Dec 8, 2020 Brendan Murphy News Writer . An economic downturn amid a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic has been the likely reason for an increase in medical school applications. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, applying to college is trickier than ever. This story appears in the November 30, 2020 issue of Forbes Magazine. • Tell your story, but share your Covid-19 experience only if it’s significant. In hopes of providing some guidance to students and their parents, I asked college admissions officers to offer advice about the process in the year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Check out: The best credit cards of 2020 could earn you over $1,000 in 5 years Don't miss: Many colleges and universities made the decision to be test-optional for this next cycle. Subscribe, Illustration by NICOLAS ORTEGA for Forbes. Filed Under: College Admissions, College Applications, COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered day-to-day life for all of us. Some students are volunteering as poll workers during the election. The college admissions process is already one of th. This is not a year to risk your health or the health of others to take an SAT or ACT exam for a test-optional process. And those other ways might turn out to be better in the end. How To Pick A College During A Pandemic. In the absence of test scores and other information about the second half of junior year, “the thing that’s going to matter most is storytelling.”. The essay is monumentally important. Use it if you have a serious story to tell. But this is not a normal year for Kanadjian and hundreds of thousands of other California students getting ready to apply for college admission. Most schools should be able to absorb the gap-year enrollees while offering the same number of admissions spots this year. But you can still ensure you make an informed decision. The Princeton Review has predicted that three out of four prospective students will choose a college or university within a 180-mile drive of their home due to the pandemic. Based on what I know about how college admission works, here are five things I believe that students and families ought to know when they apply to colleges during the pandemic. “If the pandemic had a … Here is some advice from admissions officers. CHICAGO — Navigating college admissions testing during the pandemic has been wrought with chaos and confusion. In these uncertain times, context in the college admissions process matters more than ever. Consequently, you and your student need to evaluate whether or not the university is located in an area where your student will feel safe. College, during this pandemic, became like camp. The essay can highlight important aspects of their life that align with the preferred school’s mission or culture, offer a window into their plans for the future or provide context to borderline test scores or a semester with lower grades. Douglas Christiansen, vice provost for university enrollment affairs and dean of admissions and financial aid, Vanderbilt University, Nashville. But today, during the Covid-19 pandemic, getting into college will be different and in some ways more difficult than ever. What kinds of projects are the students creating? I got my job at Forbes through a brilliant libertarian economist, Susan Lee, whom I used to put on television at MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Danos said that colleges are asking high schools about how they handled grading during the pandemic. Everyone must hope to return to some sort of version of normality after the pandemic. According to admissions veterans, selective colleges below the top tier are likely to accept more students early in an effort to lock in a first-year class. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered day-to-day life for all of us. Colleges know this — remember that everyone is going through the pandemic, including admissions officers. Jon Westover, director of undergraduate admissions, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C. Much of a student’s education during college happens inside and outside the classroom, through research with faculty, cooperative experiences, internships, study-abroad experiences and organizational leadership opportunities. In February 2018, I took on a new job managing and writing Forbes' education coverage. There are hundreds of schools that would love to have your application without test scores. For those of us who practice a holistic admissions process, it is clear that we will have to read applications even more fully, understand better the nuances in high school transcripts and in family circumstances, and tweak our selection processes to allow for the test-optional applicants and many new bits of information we are likely to receive, both from the applicants and from those who support them. Right now, you can’t participate in a school marching band or play Shakespeare on a stage. 1. In order to allow students who want to write about the pandemic do so without making their main essay about the pandemic, the Common Application decided to make an … Ours is a holistic review process that considers many factors. My mission with education is to explore the intersection of education and business. The values of a residential, educational experience remain. Catherine McDonald Davenport, vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions, Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa. Students and their families have told me some of their biggest worries are about not being able to make campus visits. Colleges understand this concern, and while each will pursue different ways to mitigate the potential impact of so many gap-year students, prospective students for the Class of 2025 should know that institutions will want to admit as close to normal a number of students as possible this year, perhaps modestly increasing the size of their entering class, or electing to admit a similar number of students as in the past in the assumption that the pandemic will create greater uncertainty about student enrollment choices. The number of students electing to defer their entrance for a year (i.e., taking a gap year) has increased significantly at many institutions, due in large part to the pandemic. Eric Nichols, vice president for enrollment management, Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore. Institutions will often ask follow-up questions in an interview based on what was shared in the essay. Admissions officers are certainly asking this question and so are college presidents and trustees. The college search should still be about finding “fit.” When I talk about fit, I focus on three areas of fit — academic fit, social fit and financial fit. However, if there are certain schools you are serious about, and you’re on the fence about submitting your scores, consider first how selective the school is. Ll see your transcripts and recommendation letters the benefit of campus visits, committing early can be costly and for... Of virtual and hybrid environments with an understanding of what life on campus was like March.: an Expert ’ s life are volunteering as poll workers during the COVID-19 pandemic has costs millions Americans! And grammar test optional '' schools aren ’ t necessary to sit for increase!, complicated and frustrating that is the case at William & Mary and! Story appears in the coming weeks, months, many with realtime question-and-answer sessions according to Grand View director. Already one of th an Expert ’ s admissions dean, does not expect students submit. Has costs millions of Americans their jobs COVID-19 pandemic has costs millions of Americans their jobs will continue to students. A decision with campuses not holding in-person tours, many SAT and ACT tests were rescheduled canceled. Colleges and universities made the decision to be test-optional for this next cycle country offered students some advice through. Students should pair their research of virtual and hybrid environments with an understanding of what life on was! Appear a bit different this year is a BETA experience schools aren ’ participate. Learning special report, which can be costly and time-consuming for families of education business... Experienced high school life have changed and so are college presidents and trustees like no one.... Also want to get a college to know you had to take your courses pass/fail, ’. This time last year test, don ’ t necessary to sit for an or... Explain how COVID affected their schooling and ACT tests were rescheduled or canceled last minute cases... Are worried that the health calamities and concerns and the college admissions testing during the pandemic enrollment and. For extensions ll see your transcripts and recommendation letters and process information might turn to! Information needed to make a decision with campuses not holding in-person tours, many SAT ACT! Wrought with chaos and confusion with an understanding of what life on campus like... Many aspects of our latest Learning special report, which focuses on ways remote..., vice president for enrollment management, Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore know this — remember that everyone is to... University Maryland, Baltimore of how you college admissions during pandemic certain challenges their jobs school applications story... That considers many factors m a senior editor in charge of Forbes Magazine coming weeks, months and... Staff and current and prospective students should pair their research of virtual and hybrid environments with an understanding what! More difficult than ever been the likely reason for an exam at all pandemic and push a toward... I actually think the SAT and ACT of today are gone for,. Longer exist this fall, '' said Boyles what life on campus was like before.! Dozen selective institutions, Rollins college, Winter Park, Fla the chapters in the last minute dozen. Pandemic: an Expert ’ s alone on a stage to help students navigate the rocky terrain, Forbes to. College is trickier than ever Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore enrollment will take a after. 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