Disrupting the College Admissions Process:

How Class of 2021 will Navigate these College Admission Changes

Graduating senior

These are unprecedented times. As the Class of 2020 made it to the finish line of their senior year, none were celebrated in a traditional sense. As we turn the page and focus on the rising juniors, I will highlight some beacons of light in the college admissions process during this new era of change.

College Admission Criteria

First all students must remain calm and focus on what is within their control. It is clear that colleges and universities are having to pivot and change how they recruit this next incoming class to their campuses. Many higher education institutions have already stated they will not require test scores like the SAT/ACT.

SAT or ACT test answer sheet

For example, the California State University system which comprises 23 campuses throughout California with a total of over 474,000 students statewide issued a statement in April that NO TEST SCORES will be reviewed for any applicant. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) issued a statement that they will not be requiring any SAT Subject Tests. Many other colleges and universities across the nation report they will not require the SAT/ACT; however, if test scores are submitted by the applicant, then the score will be used.

Students, call and verify specific admission requirements with each school on your dream list! Find out their stance on this testing requirement! The reality is that many rising juniors and seniors have attempted to take admissions tests and, through no fault of their own, the test sites have canceled the last several test dates due to COVID-19. This is outside of your control, so let’s focus on what you can do to make this next year epic. 

Your Unique Personality

Life has been disrupted. The Common Application has changed the essay questions so that you can select one that best describes a part of you that is not already included in your application. Consider highlighting a part of your persona that you discovered during the quarantine. Be creative and do not be shy. If you had been accepted to or had amazing opportunities lined up this past Spring 2020 or Summer 2020, then list them out and add next to those items–Cancelled Due to Covid-19. Don’t just leave them off the list!

Admissions teams want to know what you had planned and more importantly, what you ended up doing. Did you dive into a new collection of reading books? Did you opt to learn a new language? Did you learn to cook? Did you get a new perspective on family time? Did you help others in the neighborhood by helping them get items from grocery stores? Did you tutor a younger student via Zoom?

Learning to play the guitar

Maybe you are an avid musician: explain that although your concerts were canceled, you decided to play for your neighbors just because you wanted to. Did you find a passion to advocate and express your voice? Did you write letters to the local senior center or maybe visit all of the virtual zoos and became fascinated by an endangered species? Having 10-12 weeks of non-scheduled events is rare, and the college admissions teams want to know what you did during this special time. This will provide them with a unique glimpse of how you personally crafted this once in a lifetime chance to design and tailor your special time. 

Online School Opportunities

Take the initiative to present yourself in the best way possible. Many schools across the nation went to pass/fail this past spring semester. Be objective when taking a closer look at your high school transcript. Colleges and universities will be looking at your grades much more carefully since many will not be able to have the SAT/ACT test to compare and factor into this process. For the rising seniors, you will have your 9th, 10th, and first semester of 11th-grade scores. The best way to offset the pass/fail the second semester of 11th grade is to enroll in an online school to earn solid grades and supplement your transcript.

You can use this time wisely to do credit recovery and retake a course that you did not do great in or engage in a whole new course and get credit for taking this class. Maybe it is an Honors course or an Advanced Placement course that you could not fit into your schedule during the school year or maybe you just want to ease your senior year and take a course requirement.  Advantages Digital Learning Solutions is here to help with SAT and ACT Tutorials, core classes, and AP classes to help you prepare, remediate, and accelerate! Check out our full course lists here.

Do not delay; get signed up today! Colleges and universities will see and applaud this rigor. 

Harness the Power of Social Media

Another item to add to your list of to-dos is to follow colleges and universities on social media. This will help you stay up-to-date on admissions changes and other important announcements. While some campuses are not open for in person information sessions and tours, you can always take a virtual stroll across the campus. Remember the admissions teams are eager to connect with you. Reaching out to recruiters in your area via email can help start a conversation and personalize the journey on your search for the perfect campus.  

I am confident that this Class of 2021 will spearhead the college admissions process with dignity and grace. Staying mindful that they can only control certain aspects will help them to remain focused and calm. Dig deep to showcase all aspects of what makes you uniquely you and you will be able to convey to the colleges and universities that you will be community builders and wonderful additions to their individual campuses. 

Today’s blog post was written by Sandy Gamba, Chief Administrative Officer / Founder of Advantages DLS. For more information on navigating the college admissions process, connect with Sandy by clicking here.

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