Covid 19 is Changing the College Admission Landscape – are you prepared?


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By Robin Wolfe Shoor, M.A. – a certified, Asheville-based College Admissions Counselor who has been helping students and families successfully navigate the college and graduate school admissions process since 1998. This is a contributor-submitted Voices piece. Want to join the conversation? We invite you to write for us. Learn how to share your voice here.

High School graduation dreams are dashed, socializing with peers is a thing of the past. Seniors are wondering if they will actually attend college this fall, or if their first semester will be held online. Or some mixture of the above.

Despite the uncertainty, there are things students can do to feel less anxious and more comfortable during these times.

First, arm yourself with information and pay attention to communication from your colleges and high schools.

Did you know:

  • Friday, May 8, is the last day to register for the June 13 ACT test. Covid permitting, ACT says it will also offer national test dates on July 18. Make up tests will be June 20 and July 25. Check website for up-to-date changes.
  • May 26 is priority registration for the next SAT test on August 29. The College Board plans to offer the SAT once per month though December. Check the website for the latest schedules.
  • Advanced Placement exams (AP) will be online, 45 minutes long, and will not contain content past mid-March. There are online free-response exams for each course.
  • IB exams are cancelled. Scores and grades will be based on past grade trends and teacher input.
  • Is your accepted student’s day cancelled? Make sure to sign up for your college’s orientation and any virtual events. Make an appointment with your counselor to pick classes. Get involved and stay in the conversation by communicating with other students on your school’s Facebook page.
  • Make sure to stay on top of your school’s email communications!
  • NC college campuses expect to reopen this fall, and health precautions are being discussed.

Juniors - don’t let your summer slip away!

Sure, it’s hard to get motivated, but this is not the time to let grades slip or to let opportunities for creativity and involvement pass you by.

Colleges are going to want to know about what you did when sheltered in place – in fact, there’s a new section on the Common Application that asks just that. What did you do with your time?

Make a user-friendly workspace for yourself, and then help with homework, tutor online, do errands for elderly neighbors, or do lawn chores.

Summer is also a time to explore new interests. Learn to play the guitar, cook, or build a computer. Build on your interests, take a free course online through or Coursera. Love to cook? Take over the family kitchen and create a weekly meal plan complete with healthy recipes and daily menus. Make a food list, buy the ingredients and stage foodie pictures of your edible creations. Document reactions on your food blog. Try baking different types of bread, deliver a fresh loaf to a lonely or elderly neighbor. Colleges will want to know what you learned about yourself during this time – what you do shows who you are.

I’m staying on top of the latest college admissions news so I can better inform my families and their students about the new “normal” in the college admissions world.

Trends I’m watching:

  • Focus on more holistic assessment in college admissions

  • More schools going test optional (over 200 +) and basing admissions on essays, extracurriculars, creativity, in-depth involvements (i.e.what a student does with their time, especially during a challenging period)

  • Emphasis on EI (Emotional Intelligence). This includes how a student demonstrates social awareness, empathy, relationship skills, and responsible decision making in their life

  • How does a student show the evolution of their interests? The authentic demonstration of who they are in relation to the world?

  • How are schools going to handle going back to campus in the fall?

Stay tuned, the news is constantly changing!

Want to get in touch with Robin? Email, or call 305-776-0468.