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  • Writer's pictureChris Tamis

A whole new world (of college admissions) . . .


You hear it everywhere you go. "It's a whole new world." But what exactly does that mean for today's rising high school juniors and seniors who are ready to embark on the next step in their academic futures?

The first thing is that although things will certainly change, that phrase shouldn't imply a negative. The norms of college admissions will still be there waiting for everyone, just with some unanticipated tweaks and modifications. The majority of the tasks required for college admissions will remain the same. You will take (or at least attempt to take) standardized tests, you will participate in extracurricular activities, you will receive athletic and academic honors, you will complete your senior year and you will submit your college applications. You will have the opportunity to visit college campuses and with some persistence and hard work, will have a nice pool of acceptances to select from. The key to remember is that the timeline rising high school seniors have followed for many years will continue to exist in its present form. That means that it's time to really get the ball rolling and use this time to complete tasks that can be done early.

A strange concept to be cognizant of is that you may actually "benefit" from this crisis. Without doubt, colleges will be very anxious about their applicant pools and will be concerned that their prior years statistics may not hold water. The ACT and SAT exams will also certainly have less of an impact on your application. In many cases, students may choose to not submit these scores (with no detriment to their chances). Those who do submit" good scores" will see these credentials received very positively during their application review. With the advent of online learning, students who previously applied traditionally (2 or 4 year on campus learning), may choose to stay at home for a year and take classes remotely. Others may opt for a Gap year to add to their finances or gain additional experiences and some will choose to defer starting college for a year. These factors may skew admissions numbers in your favor as traditional applicant numbers see a decline. Financially, colleges may also choose to entice new freshman to commit with increased merit awards and additional perks.

Colleges will also learn from the experiences they had over the past few months. They will hone their remote learning skills, implement social distancing and sanitation protocols on campus and re-evaluate the semester schedule. Don't expect the extended deadlines and lenient pass/fail grading options to continue in perpetuity. These were done due to the unexpected and extreme circumstances we were dealt, and were meant as temporary relief for impacted students. Even with the anticipated advent of a vaccine, you will most likely see permanent changes to the way students interact with each other on a personal basis.

Financially, many campuses are freezing tuition rates next year. Please don't expect to see this trend continue or expect significant decreases in tuition for remote learning or "hybrid" learning options. You are paying for your institutions reputation and your professors expertise, and the belief is that this will still be conveyed to you no matter the means of instruction.

Please remember that it is a whole new world, but it is YOUR new world! Take all the opportunities presented and soar beyond expectations. The unexpected often produces innovation and new insight, so look forward and not to the past. The collegiate landscape may appear different for you than it did for your siblings, parents and older friends, but that doesn't mean you can't have an amazing experience and make it your own.

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