Friday, February 12, 2021

College Admissions During COVID - Book Notes

It's time again for college visits, but this time for Olivia. Having gone through college visits with Sophia in 2018, I can say that this round is substantially different. Masks, social distancing, Zoom meetings, not bringing outside food and beverages onto campuses during college visits, no handshakes - all make for quite a uniquely memorable experience. 

Given how everything is different than in the past in terms of admissions, I was happy to come across College Admissions During COVID - How to Navigate the New Challenges in Admissions, Testing, Financial Aid, and More by Robert Frankek. 

Although some of the information was general and I already knew because of having one daughter in college (e.g., what the FAFSA is, test options, financial aid), there were some things that are helpful to know:

- A best fit for college rests on four things: academic fit, cultural fit, financial fit, and career fit.

- Ask about on-campus research experiences such as working alongside a professor in a lab, writing a thesis, or completing a capstone project for a major.

- Practice taking the ACT while wearing a mask and at the time that the test will be held. 

- If an ACT score is low, remember that a college application also includes essays, teacher recommendations, and extracurricular activities. These all set you apart from other applicants.

- Timeline:


- Take the ACT when you are ready

- Balance schoolwork and outside-school interests

- Take the most challenging courses available to you.

- Start gathering teacher recommendations

- Make virtual campus visits for a narrowed-down college list

- Research available scholarships


- Start working on your application and prewriting college essays

- Make a calendar of all application deadlines (college and scholarships)

- Consider visiting colleges that are on the top of your list

- If you are applying for Early Decision, take the ACT no later than September

- Create your own project. Turn your interests and talents into a summer-long project (e.g., practicing creative writing and submitting your work to journals that publish the work of high school students)

- Become an entrepreneur - start a business that offers a service to your community

- Volunteer locally - commit to volunteering for a few hours a week from now through senior year

- Find a research opportunity. Use a platform like Zooniverse to contribute to scientific research or transcribe historical documents 


- Apply early if you're a strong candidate

- Finish applications and stay on top of deadlines for scholarships and financial aid

- Keep focused and study. Senior grades matter and can affect financial aid


- Send thank-you notes to your recommenders

- Talk to family before making a final college choice

- Read through your college's course catalog and start planning for your next four years!

- Your GPA and the rigor of your high school courses are the most important factors on your application.

- Find and commit to the extracurricular activities that you find meaningful. Look for activities through community organizations

- Find ways to further your passions on your own initiative, apart from school settings

- Look at websites for engaging in service that helps others:

- All for Good

- Catchafire

- Crisis Text Line

- Points of Light

- Project Gutenberg

-Smithsonian Transcription Center

- United Nations Volunteers

- World Family Children Foundation

- Earn money by creating art or graphic designs and selling them to others. Check out CafePress

- If you're an artist, meet online with an Art Club to share and critique work for your portfolio, or deliver illustrations and photography to brighten up a local hospital or nursing home.

- Send in a financial aid appeal as soon as possible after the financial aid package arrives.

- Be honest about any claims you make about your finances with the financial aid officer. 

- Finish college in three years, if possible. Take the maximum number of credits each semester and earn credits via online courses.

- College essay: tell about something that is important to you - an experience, a person, or a book. It shows colleges the unique qualities you will add to the incoming class.

- Take the opportunity to really examine how an experience taught you something you didn't previously know about yourself, got you out of your comfort zone, or forced you to grow.

- Always send thank-you notes to people with whom you've interviewed.

- Asking for a letter of recommendation

- Ask early - either in your late junior year or senior year

- Get detailed - provide a resume so the person doing the letter of recommendation has something to work with

- Let the person know when you need the letter of recommendation

1 comment:

Rita said...

Wow! Long ago and far away for my son...and 21 years ago for me. So different for the kids these days. I hope she finds a good fit. :)