College Admissions and COVID 19

Bette Davis said it best in her 1950 portrayal of Margo Channing in the movie All About Eve; “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride”. This is actually one of the more famous misquotes of all time but my focus is more on college planning than correcting movie quotes. Absolutely everyone agrees that the college application process can be complicated and difficult when everything happens as it should. Throw in a mountain of uncertainty and it could spell disaster for anyone who has not executed a well-designed plan for getting into college.

In the midst of Spring Break season, practically every educational institution has extended the break until the COVID 19 crisis has passed. The most popular solution is online classes but that is not the kind of change that can happen overnight. Extended spring breaks are only the tip of the iceberg. Once districts and colleges abandon their classrooms, no one has a timeline for when they will return. Teacher to student instruction is not the only thing that happens on college and high school campuses. There could be a significant number of scholarship offers that will also be put on hold when spring athletes, musicians and academic competitors are not allowed to show off their skills. Even for students who are not dependent on that scholarship to afford the expense of college; there is a tremendous amount of paperwork exchanged between testing services, high schools and colleges. The electronic lanes of the information highway may not shut down completely, but they will be significantly slowed. Those digital packets of information must be sent and received before college decisions are made.

The paranoia and anxiety continues to increase with every report of a new diagnosis and every death associated with COVID 19. Travel restrictions are reaching deeper into the lives of everyday citizens. There may very well be no college visits and no visits from college admissions recruiters. Again, there are phones and the internet; communication can continue but not in the most efficient and meaningful ways.

I have taken the most comfort in the phrase, “this too shall pass”. But as this latest crisis continues to unfold, I realize that it may leave behind deep scars that won’t soon fade away. Many of the changes that are being proposed to stop the spread of a virus that took the world by surprise could become our new normal. Whatever happens, it will further complicate the already perilous process of college admissions.

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