College Tips - COVID-19 & College Admissions
Now that colleges and universities across the nation are closed for the remainder of the year, high school seniors have an even bigger challenge ahead of them as they choose which college to attend in the fall. Many seniors rely on revisit days to aid in their decision making process, an experiential aspect that is no longer available to them. With a looming decision deadline and the feeling that there is no way to truly connect with the campus community, this decision can seem overwhelming. How are schools handling this unique situation and changing the way they typically conduct their outreach during this time of year, and how can you adapt and make a clear decision under these circumstances?
There is no way around it, losing the opportunity to revisit a campus (or sometimes even visit for the first time) of a school you are seriously considering is a major disappointment. Trust that the admissions staff is just as disappointed as you. Revisit days are their time to shine and share with you what makes their campus community so special. Some schools have moved their revisit day to a virtual platform. While it is not the same as being on campus, this allows students the opportunity to interact with current faculty and staff and ask pointed questions that will help in the decision- making process. A big part of the revisit day is getting to know the professors, as well as interacting with current students. Many schools are offering a chance to connect with a current student virtually as well, something I encourage all my clients to do. Take advantage of these opportunities and get the most you can out of what is available.
Campuses may be closed, but admission staff are working full-time, remotely. Families should utilize the contact information on school websites to reach out and have all questions answered. This will help sort through information from all the schools you are considering as you move closer to making a decision. Not only are the answers important, but the way the staff communicates in a time of crisis is telling of the community. Were they able to rally together and still put their best image forward, or do things seem disorganized and out of place? Do they have time for all the families calling or emailing, or do you feel like a hassle? Are they able to connect you with other university personnel and departments of interest, or does everything seem disconnected? All of this information is important as you choose a community for your next four years.
The usual deadline to commit to a school (also known as the National Candidate Reply Date) is May 1. This is when schools expect to hear from admitted students as to whether or not they will enroll. Understanding the unique situation, many universities have extended their deadline from May 1 to June 1. The list of schools (provided by Admissions Community Cultivating Equity & Peace Today) who have made this change is growing, and students should expect to see more schools join the list. Even if the date is not officially changed for some schools, there should be a level of flexibility given families due to the rare and uncontrollable circumstances we are experiencing.. Do not be afraid to reach out to the schools you are considering to see what their policy is and what accommodations can be made.
No school is the same, nor are they approaching this situation in the same way. Be sure to contact the schools you are deciding amongst and see what they have in place for you as you sort through your options. Remember that everyone is in the same boat - this is a circumstance no one was necessarily prepared for and that we are all navigating together.
Stay tuned for an interview with an Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admissions for a more detailed look at how admissions offices are handling things from the inside.
As always, we are here to help and support you in any way we can as you navigate this process. Please do not hesitate to reach out.