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No June SAT: COVID-19 Update #4

Hey, everyone. 


At 1:30 EST The College Board announced that the June SAT and SAT II's were cancelled. I imagine the ACT will soon make a similar announcement. They have said they will add one test per month in the fall-which honestly only amounts to two more test dates (one in September and one in December). They will also be increasing capacity for existing dates and locations. Registration will open in May for students who were registered for June and for kids who haven’t yet taken the test. We can speak individually about what all of this means for you. 


A few other questions that have come up since my last update: 


What happens if all the current seniors defer their acceptance?

Many schools only allow deferrals for a few specific reasons, typically they are medical conditions, compulsory military service, or a program in Israel like Young Judea’s YearCourse or USY’s Nativ. At the University of Maryland, for example, while the overall Jewish population is about 20%, 75% of their deferral requests are for Israel programs.  At American University, they have seen an increase in the request for deferrals, but they are not granting them because they don’t meet the pre-set guidelines for deferrals. Some schools have come out and specifically said they won't grant deferrals just for people to hedge their bets against the possibility of an online experience in the fall or simply to save money. 


Of all the things on your plate to worry about, this shouldn’t be one. Colleges and universities are just as sensitive to this issue—they don’t want to have loads of deferrals because they know it will impact the current juniors! Also, they are crazy sensitive about budgets and revenue right now---they don’t want to do anything to shrink the incoming class. Anecdotally, none of my current seniors have mentioned to me that they’re considering deferring. It doesn’t mean they haven’t thought about it, but none of them have expressly said it’s something they’re actively considering. 


Research and Campus Visits: 

For a while, I’ve been encouraging all of you to spend time on college websites looking for virtual visit options. I know they’re mostly awful. I know they’re not the same as being on campus, but for now, they’re what we have. I want to encourage two other things. First, be diligent and click everything. I say this because the University of Maryland has made their Admitted Student even viewable to juniors too. It’s a much more robust option than just a virtual tour. But, you wouldn’t necessarily think it’s available to you (and at most schools it won’t be), so you wouldn’t think to try. Go ahead and try!! You don’t have much else to do!


Second, spend some time on the Instagram and/or Twitter feeds of the schools you’re interested in. Not only the admission pages but also more specific groups. If you’re interested in dance or art or debate or the newspaper, look for the dance program Instagram page or the baseball team’s page or whatever activities appeal to you. Again, it’s not great, but it’s another perspective. The goal is to know as much as you can about the schools so you can determine if you’re interested enough to apply or if you like it enough to apply early decision….some internet stalking can help! 


Also, most schools are making their faculty and staff far more accessible than normal. If you have a question about something specific (that you can’t find the answer to yourself) and you want to connect with a faculty member or specific staff person on a campus, now is the best time to reach out. They’re all available!!! If this is something you want to do, we can talk about the best way to do it, but know that this option is out there as you’re researching schools and finalizing your list of schools. 


If you lost the link from last week or didn't read it, there's a virtual college fair of sorts happening next week. https://www.strivescan.com/virtual/schedule/


Are colleges going to open in September? 

Many people are buzzing about a Boston University article discussing BU’s COVID-19 plan which includes planning for the possibility of campus not being open in the fall. Literally, every college in America is discussing this. And, as shocking as it sounds and feels, they’d be foolish not to. At the same time, literally every college in America desperately wants to open in the fall. So, they are doing everything they can to make that possible, but they’re also coming up with contingency plans. That’s a good thing. Most of us switched to a learning from home model with only a week of lead time. IF schools have to start late or start virtually, it’s better that they spend 3 months planning than 1 week. I know it’s hard to avoid the drama and clickbait articles, but try. As soon as facts are available, I will share them and we can determine necessary steps. 


How are colleges going to review applications without testing? 

As I’ve written before, all schools have said they will be flexible. You will not be hurt by your inability to test or your school switching to a pass/fail grading model. One thing I can add to that is that many colleges have said that they haven’t shifted to talking about application review yet. Their priorities are: bringing in the current class of seniors, determining what recruitment will look like for them in the fall, and then….what application review will look like. Even for Early Decision and Early Action programs, application review doesn’t begin in earnest until mid-October/early November. Right now, admissions offices are focused on May 1 deposits and universities as a whole are focused on whether they can open in September. 


The Common App

The Common App announced, just after my last update went out, that a COVID-19 question will be added in the main section of the Common App, i.e. the section that all schools see the same. They haven’t said what it will be, but there will be something. It won’t be a “what did you do during COVID-19 question” where they give points to Johnny for making and donating masks and they take points away from Reena because she binge watched All American, Greys Anatomy and all the Marvel movies. They’re just interested to learn how it affected each of you. It’s possible they’ll announce the question in the coming weeks, it’s also possible we won’t see it until August when the Common App “rolls over” and updates for the current juniors. 

As always, if you have other questions, please be in touch. Also, and maybe this is a test to see who is reading all the way to the bottom, I am considering doing a virtual Q&A next week. Is that something you would be interested in? It would just be an opportunity to ask questions and hear others’ questions. 


Stay home. Stay safe. Stay well. 

Reena

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