Coronavirus Throws Colleges a Curve Ball

In between running to pick up your kids from what could have been their final day at school in person for the semester and dashing to the supermarket to grab the last package of TP, you might have a few questions about how coronavirus will impact your child’s college application process.

Hopefully this post will provide some answers.  Feel free to contact us if you have questions specific to your child’s college admission process.

Class of 2020

You’re probably right in the throes of receiving your college admission decisions.  Congrats!  A handful of colleges are still reviewing application files; most colleges have reviewed files remotely for years and can easily transition back to remote file review as they make their final admission decisions.  You’ll get your decisions soon!

However, if you didn’t visit all of the colleges to which you applied, and were planning to visit during spring break, you may find yourself in the strange position of having to make a decision about where to enroll this fall without visiting.  Many – probably MOST – colleges in the US have gone to online instruction , cancelled admitted student receptions and visit days, and put all tours on hold.

Here’s a little good news specifically for your class:

A) You’ll likely have a little bit longer to make your enrollment decision than you thought.  In the past, colleges agreed that May 1 would be the standard deposit deadline.  Some have already announced they will extend this deadline to June 1.  Because we’re members of many professional organizations and speak with colleges on a regular basis, we’re getting messages daily from colleges.  We’ll update you as we can.

B) If you were planning to visit the colleges where you’ve been admitted over spring break, have no fear WE’VE PROBABLY VISITED THEM!  Check out our amazing “Colleges Visited” pages with write-ups and photo galleries for several hundred colleges – they’re divided into California colleges, and colleges outside of California.  Feel free to add these to the resources you consult as you make your decision.

Class of 2021

Juniors and their parents may be among the most concerned:  My SAT was cancelled!  I can’t go visit colleges this spring so how do I know where to apply?  What about AP and IB exams?  These questions and your concern are entirely valid, but please keep in mind that everyone’s in the same boat here, so you won’t be disadvantaged compared to others in your graduating class.  Here are a few things to consider:

A) If you were scheduled to take the SAT on 3/14, and your site was closed, there’s no need to call the College Board; you’re just going to sit on hold for awhile.  College Board has some information on their website indicating that you’ll be able to either get a full refund or reschedule for another test date.

B) Yay!  More time to prep!

C) If you were planning to visit colleges, you should still do this online!  MANY colleges are offering virtual info sessions and tours – just in the last few days, I’ve heard from Ohio State, Case Western Reserve University and UC Santa Barbara; I also received a message from George Mason University, encouraging me to connect with the admission counselor who reads my geographic area to ask questions.  Take this opportunity to make contact with the college to let them know of your interest, and to get some questions answered.  Also – see above point B for the Class of 2020 – use our college visit write-ups and photo galleries to check out the colleges you were planning to see!

D) Longer term questions:  Will colleges know this fall, when I apply, that I wasn’t able to take the SAT immediately after prepping?  What about AP or IB exams?  What about not being able to finish out the school year in the “normal” way?

  • Colleges are fully aware that the Class of 2021’s junior year went a little haywire!  You’re all in the same boat – everyone’s testing and school year has been disrupted, and at the time of this writing, we don’t know if you’ll be able to go back to school before the end of the semester.
  • Your transcript may look a little different than it would have; your counselor will be able to explain your school’s response in his/her letter of recommendation when you apply in the fall.
  • If you haven’t yet taken the SAT or ACT, you still have at least a handful of options – one in the summer for both SAT (August) and ACT (July), and at least a few times in the fall.  There are SAT dates currently scheduled for May and June, and ACT dates scheduled for April and June.  We’ll keep our ear to the ground about whether or not the April ACT will go forward.
  • We’ve inquired directly to the organization that oversees the IB Programme and corresponding exams about whether or not their timing will shift.  We’ll update you!
  • We’ve heard some rumblings that some colleges that had considered going “test-optional” will accelerate their plans and test-drive that option with the Class of 2021.  Again, we’ll update you on whatever we hear.

Interestingly, a few education publications have focused on the fact that we might see fewer international students applying and attending U.S. colleges this fall.  Both Forbes and Inside Higher Ed pointed this out in recent articles.  Fewer international students may have an impact on colleges’ budgets, and they may need to make some adjustments.  This is something we may not know immediately.

Where else can we get information specific to how the coronavirus will impact college admissions?

Again, these are strange and unconventional circumstances, and we anticipate that college admission offices will be open to hearing not only your story until now, but how the coronavirus pandemic impacted your educational path, when you apply this fall.  Above all else – don’t freak out!  Now is the time to finish out the school year and remain safe with your family.  The rest will sort itself out when it’s time.

If you have any questions, again, feel free to get in touch with us.  We’re happy to walk you through it.


Leave a Comment

Get started on your future, contact Magellan College Counseling today.