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  • Writer's pictureReena

Update #2 COVID 19

Hey, everyone.

I hope you’re well and your biggest complaint is boredom. A lot has happened since my last post, so I wanted to share some updates.

Last week, a student shared with a colleague of mine some information about AP exams, before the AP folks had made the official announcement. That has happened again with IB students. The IB folks told us they would make an announcement on the 27th, but information was leaked Saturday. Soooooo, on top of all of the stress and anxiety you also have to deal with hearing information “on the street” before it’s officially announced and, hopefully, communicated to you by your school and/or school counselors. I’m sorry about that.

Whatever you are hearing and whatever you have questions about, please feel free to reach out. I also will be reaching out to each of you to set up time to chat. You’re all in a good place—there may be some pieces that you’re “behind’ on but others where you’re “ahead.” For example, maybe your testing was impacted but you’ve already visited several campuses and have your list mostly formed. I also have students who are finished testing but need to adjust their lists. Other students have made progress on an essay but need more time on another part of the process. You’ve all got this. I promise!

Here’s what else I can tell you:

AP Exams:

They will switch to a 45 minute online format. Tests will be somewhat customized based on what content was covered before school went virtual. The tests will be offered on 2 dates, which are supposed to be announced on April 3. If the official announcement was not shared by your school, you can read it here:

IB Exams:

They are cancelled for this year! Here’s the important part of the official statement, “The May 2020 examinations, as scheduled between 30 April and 22 May, for Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme students will no longer be held. Depending on what they registered, for, the student will be awarded a Diploma or a Course Certificate.  This is based on student's submitted coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigor and quality control already built into the programmes."


Many high schools are adopting Pass/Fail policies. That may frustrate you if you’re working crazy hard and have a 97 average, but keep this in mind….if a university sees that for the first half of the year you had a 97, they will assume that’s how you would have finished. Similarly, if a student has a 78 for the first half of the year, they’ll assume that’s how s/he likely would have finished. Now, if you’re the kid with the 78 and you were working to get it closer to a 97, your school counselor can address that in his/her letter. It’s not a perfect system to be sure, but it’s a start. Also, Harvard has already announced that they are OK with this model and will not penalize students for it!

College Visits:

Last week I shared a link to a spreadsheet. Here is a better link to an interactive school list. You can enter the school name and see what policy changes they’ve made:

New Opportunity:

For those of you who are turning ideas around in your head about whether and how we could have prevented this pandemic, perhaps you want to use your downtime creating something for this brand new competition.

Since I last posted, Case Western announced that they would be test optional for the next admission cycle (as well as several smaller, regional schools I was not familiar with.) While many of you may not be interested in Case, it is a positive sign that reinforces what I wrote last week. Colleges are and will continue to adapt, FOR YOUR BENEFIT! Even better, since I wrote on Monday, Tufts and BU have also announced test-optional policies for next year. More will certainly follow. 

I know this is the adult thing to say and probably the last thing you want to hear, but….. in many ways, this massive shock to your typical routines is great preparation for transitioning to university. How many times have you heard me say that the work of college isn’t infinitely harder-it’s managing your time? You’re now being forced to think about how you spend your time. Are you getting up at your normal time and trying to follow a schedule or are you sleeping till noon and cramming all your work in at the eleventh hour? Are you taking time to pause and decompress? Do you have day pajamas and night pajamas? I’m not going to lie—I wrote this in my pajamas, but…. I’m also trying to hold on to other good habits and discover new things. How are you using the time?

As I learn more, I will continue to keep you informed.

In the meantime, stay safe and stay in touch.



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