School seniors and college freshmen/sophomores and their parents are evaluating these variables of late. When there are too many variables, it is hard to make a choice and stick to it for long.
1. SATs postponed/canceled for the past 6 months
Since March 2020, SATs are being canceled and/or postponed. Not sure at this point whether the September SATs will be conducted or again postponed. Would colleges still look for SATs for selection next year? Not sure… need to adapt as days progress!
2. ACT or SAT?
Earlier many students used to take both SAT and ACT, now choosing your college and just taking one would be great (if they are able to). How will colleges look at this?
3. Remote learning or In-person learning?
Getting into your college of choice is not easy (for anyone). However, college freshmen from last year have not stayed in college for a year. Half-way through, many returned back home as the COVID cases were increasing in the dorms. Colleges went through a lot of contemplation and few chose to open, faced COVID issues and switched to remote learning for this fall semester. So, students vacated dorms last year to save funds and are choosing to stay back at home this year. When they return, will they have dorms / residential facilities, or should they continue with that college at all? Now that they are sophomores, some have not yet completed their freshmen year classes / requirements. And remote learning this fall would include current freshmen and sophomores joining the same classes potentially.
4. College fees & Financials
Tuition fees for colleges are seen to be high by every single parent, irrespective of whether the cost is in thousands or hundreds of thousands. So, if campus is switching to remote learning, does the high college fees make sense? How would colleges process their tuition waivers and grants/scholarships etc for next year? Does it make sense to switch after 1-2 years from the far-away college to a local one? When would be the right time to decide?
5. Early decision making timelines
Do they even make sense with the delayed SATs/ACT exams? How will decisions be made? Will it vary by college or would there be a decision made across the board?
6 Hobbies, Clubs and Extra curricular activities
Everything has come to a standstill. It is interesting how students in some places are switching to book clubs, sewing, making digital content, and getting into online volunteering opportunities. There will be a break in the way college applications and continuity of passion is evaluated.
8. Social isolation
This is a critical time when school seniors try to engage with college freshmen and sophomores to understand and firm up their choices, visit colleges and realize their preferences. With social isolation during this time, there is no visiting colleges, all virtual meetings, virtual classes, pushing some into depression.
While we understand the challenges with COVID, the fact that survival comes ahead of everything else, if we have a high school senior or a college freshman/sophomore at home, we need to be prepared to deal with an additional set of variables during these critical times. Wish all the parents sailing in the same boat – good luck, do share your tips on how you are dealing with it!