After a year that has tried us all in ways we never imagined, many of our teens are lonely, stressed, and confused. As the adults in their lives, we hope to offer them the tools and insights that might ease the burdens they face, including the uncertainties and challenges of applying to college amid the pandemic.
How do you make big decisions? Are you methodical, using a specific formula for how you approach your choice? Or are you a “go with your gut” decider, who taps into an emotional response to your options? Perhaps you fall somewhere in the middle? Major decisions can be daunting, especially for many young people who have not faced significant life choices. With little practice, some students arrive at the opportunity to choose a college and are stopped in their tracks. By May 1, the National Candidate Reply Date, newly admitted students must decide where they will enroll and some are still stuck between two (or more) options that seem equally appealing. What now?
In my last article, I wrote about the changes to the college admissions process due to COVID-19 including the optional college entrance exams (SAT or ACT), acceptance of pass/fail grading, little or no extracurricular activities to list on your application, limited or no Advanced Placement (AP) exam scores, no admissions tours to familiarize yourself with the admissions staff and college, and no school or youth sports used to strengthen your application. Both college admission staff and prospective college applicants are learning how to navigate this unchartered journey of college admissions without reliance on a decade-old recipe.
Akosa Obianwu dreams of studying public health, and he has admission offers in hand from Johns Hopkins University and several other competitive schools. Now this 18-year-old high school senior from Maryland is waiting to hear in the next few days from the Ivy League.
The pandemic has impacted the college admissions process in many ways, including the elimination of standardized test requirements and students’ ability to visit schools. With all of these changes, college admissions officers speak to NBC’s Kate Snow about how their respective processes for recruiting and accepting students have changed.
So you—or your child—got accepted to college. Congratulations! But now the financial aid award letter arrives. What does it mean? How much aid are you really receiving? What if it’s not enough? Will you have to pay it all back? This discussion aims to clear up some of the many mysteries about financial aid letters.