First, I want to say congratulations for your creativity, keen focus, kinetic flexibility, and social dexterity. You have demonstrated that you are college ready. You are definitely groundbreakers and history-makers because the activity of choosing a college under the current circumstances is not easy. Even the timing of decisions is variable. Some of you have a plan in place, while others will be active in an admissions cycle that will likely extend late into the summer months.
Colleges are particularly challenged this year in predicting who will show up on campus in September. Current students may choose to transfer to a school nearer to their family, and members of the Class of 2020 may rethink their college start and instead activate a gap year or choose a regional college in order to stick closer to home. In addition, economic hardship has altered college plans for many students.
As a result, colleges are very eager to enroll students. College under COVID-19 may offer applicants a wider set of options through the activation of waitlists. Colleges started admitting students from their waitlists early this year and in much larger numbers than in the past. Summer 2020 will likely remain active with regard to college admissions as schools reach out to engage new students. In addition to the waitlist activity, and, as a result of a 2019 antitrust settlement with the Department of Justice, colleges can continue to recruit students throughout the admission cycle, thus creating more activity during the summer months than we’ve seen in previous years.
As a larger number of students receive offers in the late spring and summer, remember to think carefully if options continue to open up for you. This scenario also applies to those who have been placed on a waitlist. Stay committed to the process and keep your final decision in motion. Colleges are extending offers, and many of them are requiring responses within 24 or 48 hours. Keep calm during this time and consider these tips in making your final choice.
- Do your research. Take advantage of virtual campus visits. Chat with a current student. Contact the admissions office with any questions you have. You’ll find that admission folks are very receptive to speaking with you.
- Consider Finances. Evaluate your need for financial aid. Consider the cost of your four years and the benefits of each individual package.
- Revisit your priorities. Narrow your list by prioritizing your interests. If a tight-knit community is important to you, take a close look at class size and professor availability. Take inventory and see how your choices stack up with your priorities and goals.
- Speak with parents, counselors, and teachers. Communicate with the adults in your life by sharing both your excitement and your uncertainties during this time.
- Look carefully at how college life will unfold academically at the school of your choice. We are not sure what the fall will look like, but don’t let this keep you from looking deeper into the undergraduate program. What are the freshman requirements and how are resources for academic and advisory support set up? Make sure that the curriculum aligns with what you are looking for in a college.
Engage your parents and counselor for support. This is the time to use your best decision-making skills. If you need help with a specific action plan in order to respond to a school’s invitation to its waitlist, contact us. We can help. Thinking carefully about the various aspects of life is a constructive strategy and will most likely yield a very successful outcome.