College Success Strategies Amid COVID-19

During this COVID-19 pandemic, our priority must be to take care of ourselves, loved ones, and larger communities. Still, clients are asking how to navigate amidst cancelled campus visits, college fairs, and admissions testing. With school buildings closed, high school seniors may face college enrollment decisions with limited access to teachers and counselors. With colleges closed, expected campus visits are now virtual tours and information sessions. And, as parents face financial uncertainty, seniors already reeling from canceled graduation ceremonies, proms, athletic seasons, and arts performances, may face college dreams deferred or a realignment of priorities regarding their enrollment. In times of crisis, students tend to attend colleges closer to home and costs matter more. So, while I study COVID-19’s impact on our education industry, I want to offer good guidance on how to stay successfully navigate during this crisis.

12th Graders are impacted most immediately as important events and activities are postponed or cancelled. It is easy to take these actions personally. Instead, focus on post-secondary decision-making by securing college enrollment or making other plans. Public colleges, and private ones with robust endowments that can sustain and adjust good financial aid packages, may fill quickly. And while campus visiting is a good practice, in my experience, 20-30% of students begin studies at a college they have never visited. This is more typical for internationals and U.S. students with certain circumstances. Visiting is not a perfect tool for choosing colleges, so gather information you need by using online tools to get your questions answered. Also, build a decision matrix with colleges on one axis and values or preferences on the other. In each cell input a value (on a scale that you choose) and compare totals for each college. I can help with these strategies and discuss these issues with you.

11th Graders may not be able to do SAT or ACT testing this spring as centers close and test dates are rescheduled. More colleges are announcing test optional policies. Still, when testing reopens, BE READY. Prepare for test(s) using tools such as Khan Academy, online practice materials provided by testing services, and continuing your academic lessons via remote learning. College fairs for spring have been cancelled, so students must go to online college admissions sites and register to get information. YouTube has a vast collection of campus videos. Many colleges have their own YouTube channels where you can take campus tours, see dorms, view dining halls, meet athletes and coaches, watch speakers, and enjoy arts events. This may be a good time for 11th graders to begin their college applications and I can help them. And, if they do not have lists of recommended colleges, I can develop those with them.

10th Graders should consider taking the SAT or ACT test when testing resumes (without sending scores to colleges yet). Also, they can go to admissions websites to register interest in colleges and check out videos there or via YouTube. This is a good time to build resumes and help students document their activities and achievements. Working remotely, I can help with these activities that keep students on track through this crisis.

Finally, I plan to continue my work and will update clients on important trends and news. Already, I have clients across the U.S. with whom I work remotely, so while not ideal, working this way is not a transition for me. I have built this business to be resilient through tough times and remain at your service. Let me know how I can help your family.