Waitlists: One of the few maneuvers college enrollment managers could make on short notice is to make a quick pivot and beef up their waitlists. You may notice that you received more waitlist offers than you expected, which puts you in emotional limbo. I believe there will be more movement than normal as students and colleges make decisions under unusual circumstances this spring. So, if you are on waitlists, there are some concrete steps to take:
AP Testing: By now you should have received a notification from the College Board that AP tests will be in a condensed 45-minute, online format. This has been done in the past on individual basis for extenuating circumstances, so it’s not new to colleges. What IS new is that it will be the case for everyone this year. If you are concerned about AP credits you hope to offset college credits and or as a financial incentive in college, contact the Registrar’s Office at the college you plan to attend. It should be able to give you details about whether it will be accepting credit from this year’s AP exams.
Test Optional: With almost 4,000 colleges in the US, we are seeing changes day by day. Many that were not technically test-optional are suspending their testing requirements for the class of 2021. Just today (4/1), the University of California system suspended their SAT/ACT requirement for 2020/2021 applicants. This is big news; it is among the most dependent on standardized testing (and the only holdout requiring the writing section). Does that mean you should give up on the tests? No. These policy shifts take the pressure off our juniors given the cancelled test dates and generally crazy life situation. I believe the colleges are also trying to preserve their timeline for application deadlines. Ultimately, this is a good thing for all students. For those who have already hit nice scores on the SAT or ACT, you can give yourself a pat on the back for being ahead of the curve on timing. For those who were aiming to take the spring tests and are now looking at summer/fall test dates, embrace this opportunity to regroup and give yourself a strong score. The best way for students to think of test optional policies is this: if you score well, it’s awesome. If you don’t, it’s ok. So, there is only upside potential when preparing for and taking the SAT and ACT at this point.
Extracurricular Activities: Try to take a deep breath. If you are a spring athlete/performer and you’ve missed your chance at this season, musical, or concert, take the time you need to mourn the loss of the season. Don’t worry about beefing up a college resume this minute. Take this time to keep up on your school work. Colleges are looking for students who will add positively to their campus community. That won’t change in our current situation. It may mean helping with younger siblings so your parents can work, helping more with cooking, cleaning, and yardwork. It may also mean sewing masks for healthcare workers, or checking in on neighbors who might need your help. You need to take care of yourself and your family first. If you have time to learn something new, great, but we’ll worry about extracurricular activities later.
We are starting to hear the first cancellations of summer high school programs on college campuses. This is disappointing but understandable. If you were hoping for a summer getaway, you may be out of luck. If you were hoping to use a summer program to gain specific experience that might help you learn more about your academic interests, we will need to work on the fly and keep our eyes open for new opportunities to do that type of exploration. Colleges depend on summer programrevenue, so I believe we’ll see replacement formatting become available over the next couple months. This is new territory for everyone and we will need to be patient with this.
The college process isn’t going anywhere. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself and your family right now. UCLA’s Director of Admission, Gary Clark said “It’s OK to not be OK right now.” We will be here to help in any way we can. We are fully operational via FaceTime and Zoom. For those interested in our summer bootcamp program for college application work, we are also extending the registration discount through June