We hope everyone is doing well despite the coronavirus and stay-at-home orders. We wanted to ensure everyone receives 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 hope college campuses "return to normal" by August or September, but that is still only a guess. In all cases, check your email (including junk mail folder) frequently for updates from your colleges. Join their Facebook and Twitter and Instagram feeds to stay current on news. Check snail mail for potential updates, and check colleges websites and "accepted student portals for “Coronavirus/COVID-19 updates and FAQs. The 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.
IB Exams - As you know, IB Exams have been canceled. Check with your college, but they will likely ignore this issue, and your offer of admission will stand, as based on your predicted IB scores, your final IB scores and your final semester grades.
High School Final Transcript - the college at which you accept an offer will want a final transcript (except UK universities). We will send these in early June.
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 activity 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).
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.
Early Decision Students - for those who have been accepted at your Early Decision college, you should have already put down a deposit. Please contact the college and ask about any changes or to confirm they received your deposit.
College Visits ("Accepted Student" Days) - Most colleges have cancelled "accepted students" visits on campus. Read the acceptance letter and website information carefully, as most will have enhanced online options, including virtual tours, live virtual info sessions, recorded information, etc. Some colleges may extend the deadline for responding until June 1st, but most still have a May 1st deadline for a response.
Financial Aid - If your family’s financial situation has changed due to lost business, a lost job, and a significant drop in assets, you should reach out to prospective colleges regarding financial aid. Policies vary widely, but if you give them evidence or an explanation, some may offer better aid than their initial package.
Waitlists - It remains unclear how coronavirus will impact the so-called yield, which determines how many spots are not filled by the initial pool of admitted students and therefore open to students on the waitlist. A full discussion of waitlists is beyond the scope of this email, but the situation remains fluid, so please contact your counselor with waitlist questions. 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. Here is an article on how students are thinking about the Fall semester. It remains unclear how this may affect waitlists: 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 athletes should contact their coaches and future teammates about summer workout programs and remain match fit. You can run, lift weights, jump rope, practice your sport, etc. even without teammates.
Summer orientations and move-in - Colleges often have students move in during August for orientation, often preceded by pre-orientation events. These may be delayed or canceled outright.
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.
Non-US passport holders - check with your college and the US Embassy in Seoul about travel restrictions, visa restrictions, etc. This is likely to vary by college. Expect to be quarantined for 2 weeks or more in the US upon arrival, so plan to arrive well in advance of the fall semester's start!
Student Visa Applications - in response to worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Department of State is suspending routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services in all countries with a level 2, 3, or 4 travel advisory. Accordingly, the US Embassy to the Republic of Korea has cancelled all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 19, 2020. They will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. Although all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments are cancelled, the MRV fee is valid and may be used for a visa application in the country where it was purchased within one year of the date of payment. See more information on the US Embassy’s student visa application page here.
Gap Years or Community College - If you are not planning on attending a traditional four-year college in the fall, especially due to coronavirus' impact, contact your counselor. You may choose to take a gap year or a year at a local community college. Community colleges are still accepting applications and enroll students well into the spring or summer.