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How COVID-19 Is Changing College Admissions Cycle in 2020

It is hard to predict whether the class of 2020 will be able to attend campuses in real life, or the academic year will start online

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College Admissions


One of the spheres highly impacted by the SARS-COV-2 pandemic emergency in 2020 is higher education. While some universities and colleges introduced online-based classes, a lot of the institutions lack funding to do it or are not able to react quickly enough. At the same time, not all of the students have constant access to the Internet regarding that their parents are obliged to work remotely.

Even more confusion is reserved for those who were going to enter a college this year or make a transfer: standardized tests SAT\ACT are being postponed till undefined time. It is hard to predict whether the class of 2020 will be able to attend campuses in real life, or the academic year will start online. Of no less importance is the fact that international students might not be able to get their visas since the borders are still closed.

Standardized Tests Are Postponed, but Some of Them Can Be Taken from Home

In order to apply to a college or a university in the States, you need to pass one or more standardized college admission tests. The spring wave of SAT and ACT, tests required for undergraduate admissions, has been canceled, same as the national SAT previously scheduled in early June. The destiny of the ACT planned for June 13th remains indefinite. The College Board is now considering the possibility of launching at-home standardized tests similar to the Advanced Placement students’ examination. This approach is effective in ensuring that the tests are held, not depending on when the situation with the pandemic crisis becomes more definite.

The idea of online tests has been quickly realized by ETS, the organization providing English assessment. Students from outside of the States need to pass a TOEFL, and, starting from early March, they are able to do it at home from any part of the world. The developers of the tests claim that the Home Edition of TOEFL iBR is no different from an offline version of this test as many people question themselves if it is easier to take this test at home or not. The only difference is that you have a human proctor watching you through a webcam.

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Admission Cycle May Differ from College to College

The US is a home for thousands of colleges, and all of them have different admission criteria. What is more, administrations of many colleges can make different decisions about their functioning based on their financial and technical capacity. In this way, many colleges such as Furman, Central Christian College of the Bible, Bryant, and many others decided to reopen applications mainly to reach their enrollment targets.

At the same time, Cornell University announced that it is no longer required to pass ACT or SAT exams to enroll in August 2021. On their turn, this year’s applicants raise questions about whether college campuses will be open this fall. As no one is ready to give an ultimate answer, some of the institutions as Cal State Fullerton, announce that they began preparing to go online for this fall semester.

All in all, it is highly advised to check each institution’s website to see what the admission criteria are in the year of 2020. It is essential to check news from the official representatives because the situation may change depending on the global situation.

What Can You Do While Waiting for News from the College of Your Choice?

You may take advantage of this challenging period and perfect your college admission essay. It may seem that exam grades are much more important, so many applicants don’t spend much time to elaborate on their personal statements. However, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, an essay plays a vital role in the meaning that it gives the context about the personality and helps to review one’s “soft” factors.

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As many colleges have extended their application deadlines, you now have the time to do more research about them, which is important to provide convincing reasons why they should accept you. Make sure to show your interest and explain your goal, but don’t be too wordy. You can use to get professional help with your personal statement. The most important thing is to make sure that your essay is concise, grammatically correct, and doesn’t contain spelling mistakes.

Out of the State and International Admissions

The destiny of international students stays unclear for this academic year. Those aspiring to enter a US college this year consider the possibility to attend fall classes through video. However, this might be a challenge to guarantee their online presence with such problems as different time zones, dependence on Internet connection stability, and even the state of freedom of speech in some countries where governments tend to block American online sources.

Even if the borders are open before the classes start, a lot of them might find themselves in a difficult financial situation due to the fact that the COVID-19 crisis made a lot of businesses stop. This circumstance may work in favor of domestic wait-listed students since, in the condition of the lack of international applicants, their slots are expected to be given to local entrants. The same rule may be applied to in-state students. If mobility is still restricted between the states, applicants might find it easier to enter their local college than before the global pandemic.

Final Thoughts

In these unprecedented times, both future students and college administrations have been thrown into uncharted waters. So there is no need to panic: everyone is in the same boat now. It is essential to follow the news from your college of choice on their official website.

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