We hope everyone is doing well despite the coronavirus and stay-at-home orders. We apologize that this isn't broken down into different country destinations but we wanted to ensure everyone received complete information, regardless of their situation. Please ignore the portions that don't apply to your family, and please reach out to your counselor directly about your specific situation if needed. We are trying to strike a balance between solid information and timeliness; some of this information may change, so please check/confirm yourself if you are unsure. Overall, there is tremendous uncertainty around the world, and the situation remains very fluid. We expect college campuses to "return to normal" by August or September 2020, but that is still only a guess. There will be some other hiccups, but we'd be very surprised if coronavirus isn't completely resolved by Fall of 2021 when current Juniors are entering college, and current sophomores are busy applying. Our overall message is: Stay informed, but don't worry. Every student, high school, and college is in the same boat. Be patient, and things will clarify in time. Little to nothing will be "held against you" since the coronavirus is beyond everyone's control.
Virtual Learning and grades - Make every effort to stay on top of your academics, even if the standards have become flexible or assistance has been less available. You should learn the material to be better prepared for college coursework. If helpful for you, read online tutorials, form a virtual study group, engage an online tutor, etc.
Home setup - You might still be studying from home for quite some time, so, if not done already, set up a good place to study with adequate equipment: Pick a quiet room (not the kitchen table) with a good desk, an external monitor (and ideally an external keyboard, and mouse), plus a good office chair. Get a monitor stand (or raise the monitor up on a stack of books) so that you can put the monitor directly in front of you but still see over your laptop screen. Get a wrist rest and avoid carpal tunnel syndrome. Get a footstool if your feet don't reach the ground. Get a headset and/or headphones.
ACT, SAT, and SAT II tests - standardized tests (ACT and SAT) have been largely cancelled or postponed indefinitely. Colleges know this and will take it into account when it is time for you to apply. Many colleges will be test optional for the upcoming application season. If you took the tests already and are happy with your scores, you will be able to submit them. If you weren't able to take the tests, we will have to wait and see when the test dates become available and what each colleges' policy is at that time. Don't stress, but let's discuss when you have a chance.
Consider taking the Duolingo English Test (DET): With social distancing being the new norm, online testing is becoming more popular and accepted by world-renowned universities (do check which university accepts the DET). Hence, consider scheduling for practice tests and taking the Duolingo test as an alternative to IELTS or TOEFL (Website link to DET).
High School Transcripts - Colleges will, in general, accept whatever grading policy the student’s high school has implemented for the remainder of the year.
Extracurriculars, contests, and concerts (Robotics, orchestra, etc.) - all activities are cancelled and might remain cancelled through the end of the school year. That said, you can certainly keep up with activities on your own, such as playing music, creating artwork, computer programming, etc. Don't drop the activity just because the formal extracurricular has been canceled. Keep yourself busy and engaged. You can perhaps have remote tutoring or music lessons. Now is a great time to learn to play the guitar, learn how to program, learn to cook, read lots of books, etc. You could put energy into collecting donations for a hard-hit group. Why not start pursuing your passion project? What’s a passion project? Well, anything that you are passionate about, then explore widely, research deeply, express genuinely. Challenge yourself to be creative! (Article on starting a passion project).
Art, Music, and Maker portfolios - this quarantine period is a great time to work on portfolio pieces for music, photography, art, voice, dance, science projects, etc. Don't miss the opportunity to invest in your artistic and creative endeavors!
Summer Activities and jobs - if you are planning summer research, classes, or other activities, check with the organizer. It is possible that you won't know for another month or two, but hopefully, summer activities will be held. That said, remember the summer Olympics have already been postponed until 2021. Again, everyone else is in the same boat. Talk to your counselor if you think you need to make adjustments to your summer plans. The later in the year you decide, the more creative and independent you will need to be, but that can be a good thing!
Summer college programs - college summer programs may be delayed or canceled outright.
College Visits - almost every college has cancelled in-person tours and visits on campus. Most will have enhanced online options, including virtual tours, live virtual info sessions, recorded information, etc. Give them a chance to deal with the newly admitted class of students, and then hopefully tours will be available again this summer.
Financial Aid - Your family’s financial situation might have changed due to lost business, a lost job, and a significant drop in assets. Policies vary widely, but if you give evidence or an explanation, some may offer better aid than you might expect; others will not. Juniors entering college in Fall 2021 will have financial aid largely determined their parents' 2019 income/taxes.
Competition and yield - It remains unclear how coronavirus will impact the so-called yield (i.e., the percentage of admitted students who accept an offer). For example, it is expected that more US students will accept offers at their in-state public university, and fewer to accept offers in NYC and other hotspots. Rural campuses may see an uptick. It is expected that colleges will rely heavily on Early Decision (ED) in the coming cycle, meaning it is more important to decide where you might apply ED. Here is an article on how students are thinking about college in the coming year: https://www.chronicle.com/article/How-Is-Covid-19-Changing/248316
Athletes (and non-athletes) - It is important to stay physically active. Go for a walk or jog every day. You can invite friends and stay 6 feet apart from each other. Recruited or aspiring recruitable athletes should contact their coaches and teammates about summer workout programs and remain match fit. You can run, lift weights, jump rope, practice your sport, etc. even without teammates. Most spring ID camps and leagues have been cancelled. If you are interested in being recruited to play a varsity sport in college, you need to be prepared to act quickly when/if summer ID camps are being announced and run. The recruiting season will be severely compressed this year, perhaps.
Travel Plans - You should assume travel plans will be cancelled or at least interrupted. Subways, trains, airlines, etc., are all operating on restricted schedules. The outbreak could rotate around the US. Don't expect to stay with your grandparents in another city; they probably won't be accepting visitors for many months.
Gap Years or Community College - If you are not planning on attending a traditional four-year college after graduation, especially due to coronavirus's impact, contact us. You may choose to take a gap year or a year at a local community college.
Common App. Essay/Supplementals/Personal Statement - now is a fantastic time to be working on this writing. Please refer to these resources:
Some final ways to help build your college application profile:
We are experiencing history in the making. Use this opportunity and keep a journal for the next few weeks - it can be either physical or digital (for example, using Penzu). Document your experience through photos, drawings, interviews with others or poems, for example.