By Nikki Danos, College Counselor
Last spring when we moved to remote learning I thought, we'll be in deep trouble if this goes on until students start applying to college. Then it happened.
But you know what? We aren’t in deep trouble from a college application standpoint.
In spring of 2020, we continued to welcome college admission counselors to chat with our juniors and seniors virtually. Roughly 90% of these visits had an audience compared to about 30% of visits in past years with in-person learning. Furthermore, all but two of our domestic students attended the 7th Annual (Virtual) Summer College Application Workshop that spanned two days. Because of the online nature of the workshop, we were able to host a college panel with representatives from all over the country rather than relying on local colleges to speak with our students.
With Microsoft Teams, students can now chat with me anytime a question arises. I’m able to respond quickly to solve their issue or pat them on the back when they hit that ‘Submit’ button on their first application. When we had in-person learning they often had to make an appointment to meet with me for even a simple question.
In addition to the positive things listed above, we also welcomed the news that almost every four-year college in the United States adopted a test optional policy whereby students could choose if they wanted to submit ACT or SAT scores. This movement is likely to continue as research shows that “if standardized testing perpetuates or worsens inequities, it must receive the most stringent of reviews” (NACAC Task Force on Standardized Testing).
While we long for the days when students could visit college campuses in person, universities are doing a fantastic job of building virtual tours, adding virtual information sessions, providing student panels and answering questions 24/7 about their individual institutions.
The pandemic is far from over, but we’re making strides in college counseling for the better. Our students feel supported and heard. Many are grateful that a standardized test isn’t a factor that could negatively affect them in this process. In the end, our students will be admitted in droves to the colleges they’ve applied to. Hopefully they’ll be able to step foot on those college campuses this spring. But even if that never happens, they’ve got this.