How COVID-19 Impacts College Admissions: What You Need to Know

By Elysse James

The Futureology program at Capistrano Unified held a webinar with Collegewise to share information and answer questions from students on the ever-shifting educational landscape in wake of COVID-19.

Watch the complete webinar recording below:

In addition, Futureology is continuing to hold free one-on-one appointments and virtual drop-in hours via Zoom to help students plan for their future careers and college applications.

With schools closed, SAT, ACT, and IB tests cancelled, and AP classes going online-only, colleges are having to adjust their admissions guidelines, said Anthony Russomanno, Futureology college and career counseling coordinator.

“This situation might feel chaotic, but you need to understand the big picture,” Russomanno said during the April 8 webinar. “Colleges are still going to admit kids… For a lot of you in my district you’re going to finish the year at home, but you’re going to finish the year. Applications will still be due for college. These things are not going to change.”

University of California and California State University schools will accept students without an SAT or ACT score for the class of 2021, as well as admitting students who have pass/fail grades for classes this year (CUSD has not moved to pass/fail grades at this time).

Nearly 1,000 colleges are now test-optional, said Collegewise Master Counselor Breanne Boyle, with more expected to make that decision.

“Every day something new is coming out,” Russomanno said.

But having some tests cancelled or held online doesn’t mean high school juniors and seniors should take it easy, they warned. Those with cancelled tests should plan to reschedule because there will be an abundance of students vying for a test slot when the option is again available.

“Don’t put your foot on the brakes,” Russomanno advised. “Do what you normally would do if everything was the same… If you normally were an involved student who liked to help people and over the next 5 months you do nothing, that doesn’t speak to you being a person who likes to help someone.”

Russomanno and Collegewise master counselor Breanne Boyle advised students to continue to do their best in school and to engage in activities that help them stand out when they apply to colleges.

“It’s getting more creative in how you approach this,” Russomanno said. Juniors, she said, can spend time brainstorming ideas for their college application essays, and sophomores can take free online practice exams.  Students can also do virtual college visits online, tutor others virtually, use 3D printers to make face shields, and more.

Russomanno and Boyle predict that next year more students will opt to attend community colleges or online colleges due to financial situations changing or because they don’t want to be far from their families, and more students may opt to stay in state.

“Keep your options open so when the time comes and you do apply, you’ve done everything and you can apply anywhere,” Russomanno said.

For more Futureology webinars and recordings, click here.

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