College Admissions During Pandemic: Planning for College Admissions 2022

The college application process is a stress-filled one even during the best of times. However, in the age of coronavirus, managing school grades, standardized tests, extracurricular activities, and personal essays is becoming too stressful for high school students. In a two-part series, I will cover a detailed plan on how to navigate through the college admissions 2022 process, including how to plan your summer in order to maximize your admission chances.

Planning for College Admissions 2022 Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has intensified college application anxiety for both parents and students. I made this observation as a career and college admissions counselor, that with uncertainty around entrance tests, school tests, and activities, students are chaotic about how to begin the making of strong applications for the coming cycle. 

Well, it is not overnight gameplay but with proper planning and designing a time-map not only the deadlines can be met but also the application can be drafted meticulously.

The 2021 college admission cycle was the most stressful ever in ages. The college admission process is never easy. However, 2021 applicants (Class of 2025) had to reckon with an ongoing pandemic that has limited access to standardized testing, disrupted extracurriculars, and for many, severely altered their senior year of high school.

Read What do Admission Deans Expect from Applicants During the Pandemic.

Most applications will start from August 1, with deadlines falling between November and February. It is advisable to apply in the early admission round to be able to get your admits early and most importantly have the application forwards to the scholarship/funding committee without any additional submission.

Related Article: How to Plan for the US College Application Process

Looking at the prevailing situation around, no doubt the application cycle will be flexible in terms of their requirements and deadlines, but Universities and Colleges will still demand an intensive application.

So without delay, students should plan their summer well in advance to be able to utilize the time in the most productive manner resulting in less stress and creating more balance between school work and the application work.

Based on my 11 years of experience in college admissions, here are four things I believe that students and parents ought to know when before they create their time-map.

Admissions Team will consider the High School Grades –

With the pandemic lockdown declared in March 2020, in the emergency pivot, classroom schooling became online learning for the academic year 2020-2021. All classes, assignments, projects and even examinations were online. Students took time to get adaptive to this method which indirectly affected their scores throughout.

So now, the new worry is that, low or average grades of grade 11, could hurt admission chances. Well there is NO need to be apprehensive. Most universities don’t rely on academic grades, they only ask for the transcript to purely see the teacher’s comments.

But, always remember, each academic work done through the year is important and will help in framing the application. So don’t take anything lightly be it small or big.

Un-certainty with Stnadardized Tests –

Since May 2020, the SAT and ACT kept canceling test dates, throwing away all plans of taking the second -third attempts to pull up the scores. This has also left most students with limited options if they want to take rescheduled tests.

With the uneven availability of the two most common entrance exams, hundreds of colleges and universities are at least temporarily taking the test-optional approach. Yet, the students are still worried that without  SAT or ACT results  or low scores, the profile is less strong, which can make it less competitive.

Well, let me share some comforting news that around 400+ universities and colleges across the globe have stated that the lack of test scores is not an admissions disadvantage.

For example – The University of California system is going even further by becoming test-blind, meaning the school won’t review SAT or ACT scores, even if students do submit them.

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The College Board announced that it plans to nix the SAT’s optional essay section and subject tests, which have long added fees and headaches for college applicants. The move comes amid a rapidly-changing world of college admissions, as colleges have been rethinking the role of standardized tests in their applications — with some reducing the weight they carry and others scrapping them entirely.

It’s OK if the Letter of Recommendation isn’t very descriptive –

Most colleges require a letter of recommendation from a school teacher to be very descriptive stating not only the performance but also highlighting the student’s learning style and strengths. But as schools are being held virtually, teachers may not get as much insight into a student as they did when they were attending school in person.

So in this case, when writing recommendation letters teachers can characterize the student as a learner in an online environment, which is itself a valuable insight.

Personality may count more than before –

All extracurricular activities like sports, performing arts, workshops, seminars, MUN’s, and community services have come to a halt due to COVID 19, which has left the students very restless and created a wider gap in their non-academic profile. Therefore, considering all aspects around, colleges all over the globe have started considering student character in their admissions process.

Final Thoughts:

So, don’t worry about having blank profiles since March 2020; because you can well take care of your application by answering questions and case-studies presented during the application cycles and interview rounds to the best of your ability.

Infact, I prefer this over a list of activities, because not every child has the aptitude to be versatile, some can only focus on an array of life but have some sharp soft and life skills which remain hidden as they don’t have a chance to portray it.

I would suggest that students and their families instead of getting too worried about all the disruptions, should devote their energy and time to those parts of their college applications that they can complete in the most solid manner. To do so extensive planning is needed under proper informed guidance.

Finally, so, what should be an ideal timeline and how should you plan your summer before gearing up for the college application season? Read the second part – Summer Planning for College Admissions 2022!

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Featured Image Source: The Harvard Crimson

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